2008 Round Robin Christmas Blocks

I did find my RR booklet so I know this round robin started in 2008 and besides myself, the participants were Maire Courtney, Sherry Johnson, Debbie Smith, Cheryl Anderson and Sossity Smith. I haven't seen their names recently and hope they are still crazy quilting.  I can't for sure who did what block but the last one was mine..  And I think Maire did the first one.  We were in many round robins  together and she has such a distinctive delicate style.

This is what they looked like when I sent them out.  I love every one!


Looking good and can't have enough lace!!!

I'm not done but it is going to work....  I thought I might have to add another layer of the stiff interfacing to get it to stand but it is fine.... It will really be stunning on the mantle during the holidays...
This is how the back looks with the two broad bands of ribbons attached.  The bands will be covered with red felt as soon as I can get to a fabric store to get some..  The extra layer of felt will make the blocks even more rigid.  The last step will be the extra embellishing on the front with gold stuff. I did run into an irritating problem with the gold ribbon for the binding.  It really wanted to unravel and I should have left extra length when I cut it... It will be covered with the felt when done and on the back so not too noticeable... 
Ran across this picture on the internet today and it made me really want to paint something...  I have painted just about everything in my house....
Remember the Victorian sitting bench I made for the dogs to look out the window?  Well it hasn't been painted yet.  I think I will get DH to help me carry it outside to spray tomorrow.  I would love to do it all up with lace besides but not too practical for dog furniture.... maybe a little lace...

And then there was my work stool I wanted to cover with lace like this ....again not to practical...  I'm going to compromise on this one and cover the seat with some quilted material and just trim it with lace.  We have had weeks of weather near or over 100 F so inside projects are coming to my attention..


And how many stars??

I was born during the "Great Depression".  Most of us growing up during this time had the "value of a collar" ingrained into our psyche as well "getting the most for you money", "saving for a rainy day", and searching for quality goods...  Even in the 1960s I never made purchases without going to the library and checking Consumer Reports and the periodicals index for information.. In those days there were just not that many options,,,,,  This research is not a habit that I can discard even if I wanted to. 

But now the available information and reviews are like a looming elephant next to a mouse. One would think that it would be a snap to do it in this day and age.  It is actually exhausting but I can't stop and, because of mixed reviews, still often undecided.  I can guarantee that no matter how wonderful a product is there will be someone writing negative reviews.

In May we were going to take the plunge and buy "smart" phones for both of us. We figured we might as well both learn at the same time.  I spent about 3 weeks searching the internet for the perfect phone for seniors, the best plans for service, phones with the best customer service and performance record, etc. etc. etc....  The more I searched the less certain I was about a choice.  Some brands would have thousands of reviews.

I had no sooner finished that and had the phones when I was starting to get bids for a new heat pump and furnace and it all started over again....  Now the furnace is installed but I need to make sure I buy the best filters to protect this HUGE investment and of course I want to find them in bulk at a bargain.... so back to my friend google and search, search. search...  But I am so grateful for the reviews and they do influence my decision...

For anyone interested we did end up buying LG Ultimate phones through Amazon because we could get Tracfone "pay as you go" and transfer all the minutes we had already accumulated as Tracfone customers....  We chose a second level furnace (Lennox instead of Trane)  because we only plan to be here 10 more years and didn't need all the extra bells and whistles... but still good enough to qualify for the power company's $500 rebate for energy use.  I think it is rather ironic that in the 60s I was a young bride on a very limited income and every penny had to count....and now 50 years later as a much older bride, still on a very limited income and every penny still has to count.


Progress and my hummingbird experiment

I backed the Christmas blocks with rigid Peltex as I want them to stand up. I used double sided fusible to attach the gold ribbon binding. The next step will be using wide velvet ribbon (probably meant for holiday wreaths) as the connecting element..  Doing it on the grid of the cutting mat will help me keep everything all in line... hopefully.
I tried a green and red ribbon for the binding as well as the gold but much preferred the gold.. After they are all attached I will do the "over the top" gold embellishing with more gold cordings and braid.  It will all go on with a hot glue gun as stitching through the Peltex is too difficult.    Now where is that glue gun which I have not used for 10 years at least?
Remember my discovery that clustering hummingbird feeders is the solution to hummingbird territorial wars?  Well it works... I have seven feeders on my little sitting porch and not only is there a minimum of aggression, I have many, many more hummingbirds.  I have also had many types of hummingbird feeders over the years but this type by First Nature is by far my favorite.  It is the easiest to clean and refill of all I have used.  I disposed of all my others and use these exclusively... I ordered them from Amazon but I've seen them at Walmart also.  Next year I will add a couple more.
My morning rant... It is a week until the 4th and already this morning I can hear fireworks.  We are in  extreme high fire danger now with a heat wave.  Fireworks are illegal in the state but people can go on the Indian reservations and buy them...  idiots.


Santa and gift from the birds

Now that I have a plan I'm so sorry that I have waited so many years to do something with these blocks.  They are really extraordinary.  I will have to see if I can find out who was in the RR.  The upper right is my block and I added the ballerina, soldier, Raggedy Ann to the others, but the rest of the work was RR participants. I mounted them on Peltex (a rigid fusible interfacing) and now going through my thrift store stash of Christmas ribbons to finish the edges.

I only know of only one other farm within a 5 mile radius that has flowers and it is at least 2 miles away as the crow flies...... but yesterday these fabulous poppies appeared in a patch of weeds near the old sheep pasture..  They are at least 6" across and you can bet I'm going to save the seed.


A lesson learned and a problem to solve!

I ran into this very problem in the recent Diva round robin.  Blocks arrived to be worked on which had skimpy seam allowances and no "stop" line clearly indicated.  I learned this lesson the hard way in a very early round robin years ago.

A Christmas round robin was a tie for my very favorite round robin  (and I have done many many over the years).  As you can see from the arrows on these finished "squared" blocks that there is not even a 1/16" available for a seam allowance without cutting away  beads or trim.   Five of the blocks are like this. I have never finished the set of 6 because I wasn't sure how I wanted to address this problem...

It was really my fault...
 1. I didn't allow enough extra material around the outside edge of the block to allow any adjustment.  2. I only allowed for a 1/2" seam allowance.
3. I didn't clearly define the "stop" line for all beading to end
.Now I make sure -
1. there is plenty of extra material on the block,
2. There is an ample seam allowance - at least 1/2".  
3.  That the "stop" line is clearly marked front and back.  Now I even baste along that line with a highly contrasting thread.
I have always wanted to finish these blocks into an accordion-fold book which I could put on the mantle during the holidays.  Now I have some ideas how I am going to solve this problem and I will share as I go along.
And I have a new gadget.  I just love tools and gadgets.  My hands are always painful with arithis all the time and shaking the little paint bottles makes them even worse,  And when I have gone months without painting (like recently) the paints either settle or thicken and all need a LOT of shaking.  I found this delightful little machine and it is absolutely perfect for this task...  It is made for manicurists to use with nail polishes but it suits my needs wonderfully.


The War of the Roses.

My most aggressive roses wage war on me, all structures and each other.  This is all one rose and actually starts a little to the right of the arrow and was growing over a large arbor.  It collapsed the arbor (see arrow) and just keeps heading north.
This is another plant of the same variety on another arbor which is leaning badly(see arrow).  The huge white Scotch rose on the left is holding its own..  Luckily the big juniper is supporting some of the rose on the right.  But if I had to place a bet on which will win I would have to put my money on the rose on the right..  It will eventually collapse the arbor and engulf the white rose AND the juniper and continue on its way.

This unnamed climber below is intent on consuming my chicken house.. Although I try to it from the door and going over the roof, it is a losing battle.  It also creeps under the eaves and tries to fill the inside of the chicken house.
But the very very worst is this rose.  It is named Darlow's Enigma and is actually sold on the internet. There is a 30' long and  8' tall cedar  fence.  I unknowingly planted about 10 of these roses along that fence and haven't seen the fence since..  There is no doubt it will collapse the fence and I need to hire someone with a machete (or chain saw) to cut it down and then spray it with round-up.  And it is loaded with thorns.
This is a view of the fence on the other side.  The rose grows up over the  8' fence, down the other side and into the pasture.


Now it is really done.  I thought I'd have it done last weekend but I decided to dye the lace, then I found more trims and flowers and then decided  to bead along the path......so a week later.   I had saved all the ginghams, checks etc. to use with my CQJP cottage blocks.  After I cut all the strips I didn't like them together but now I think I might,
Here is a closer shot of the center panel...


Almost done.....finally.

We drove to Seattle (actually Redmond)   to see grandchildren this last weekend.  It is a 4-5 hour trip depending on traffic and I took this cottage piece with me to finish.  Between the car time and hotel time I did finish it except for a few charms which will be added after the  frame is created.
That is what I'm working on today from a stash of ginghams, florals, and stripes, etc.  Hopefully by the weekend I can have it finished and behind me and then catch up with CQJP....

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