Saturday, December 25, 2021

A Kinder World

Hello Everyone,

I've been saving my pictures of the Nativity for Christmas Day.....the reason for the season.  I purchased this Nativity set for my mom.  She used it for a few years, and now I considered this one my favorite. The little faces are so sweet and dear.

This Nativity set was made by a friend in 1977.  It has been on display every Christmas for the last 44 years.  This is my favorite also.  The donkey is now hearing impaired since the ears are gone.  I think we gave up trying to repair him about 30 years ago.

Then there's the Jim Shore set.  One of my favorites too.

My mom gave this Avon set to me eons ago.  Another favorite.

I hope you can share Christmas with your family.  May your homes be filled with delicious food, lots of laughter, good conversations, reindeer games, and good memories.

I pray for peace, and a kinder, gentler world.  Quilters unite, we can do this together!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.



Thursday, December 23, 2021

Merry Christmas

Hello Everyone,

Before I get too busy with the final Christmas preparations, I want to say thank you to you, my blog readers. You have no idea how much I appreciate your support, your wit and good wishes in your comments, and most importantly your love.

I've been blogging since 2008. Since that time, I've made so many friends from around the world.  I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of you, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the coming years.  You inspire me to keep going, keep designing, and keep creating.  I couldn't do this without you.

When I blog, I like to think that we are sitting down at a kitchen table together, and we are chatting over a steaming cup of coffee, like old friends.  

This morning I'm sharing my news. My next big adventure in the year ahead is designing a line of fabric for Marcus Fabrics.  I've started the daunting process.....and it is a long process.  There will be a line of fabric and a corresponding block of the month design.  It's an exciting road ahead and I welcome the challenge with you, and Mr. Joe acting as cheerleaders. 

Every morning I'm working my way through Adobe Illustrator tutorials.  I feel as though I'm back in school trying to master a new computer program. It has been a very challenging process.  This old dog is trying to learn new tricks to add to my toolbox.  I've set my goals and outlined what I need to do each day and week to achieve those goals.  There are days when I get totally derailed, a bit frustrated, and feel torn in many different directions.  

My word for next year is FOCUS.  I can picture the end result with my fabric line, which I've already named and selected my color palette.  I can picture the quilt, which also has a name and theme.  The pattern is going to be unlike any pattern I've written.  I think you are going to like this one! 

If you don't hear from me over the next few days, it's because we are probably off the grid. It appears that we will most likely be snowed in next week.  Our enterprising grandsons will be with us after Christmas, and they are going to offer their snow shoveling services around the neighborhood.  I'm sure they will be busy.....but charity begins at home shoveling Grammy and Poppy's walkways and driveway.   When I'm not cooking for two growing teenage boys, I will be at my computer designing or playing Monopoly. We've also introduced our grandsons to Parcheesi and Sorry.  My old favorites from my youth are now becoming their favorites.  I still have the original game boards which are now six decades old.

My wish for you is to have a wonderful Christmas filled to the brim with love and warmth.  May the New Year give you many opportunities to smile.

Love and hugs,


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Wilder Family Cookbook

 Hello Everyone,

Some of my happiest memories are those when we were gathered around a table enjoying a wonderful meal.  I love to cook and invite family and friends over for a meal.  Sometimes I get carried away and invite more people over than I have available chairs.

Yesterday we gathered around our "meals on wheels" table and shared a meal of Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini with an old friend and her partner from junior high school!  We sat and talked and ate for hours!

My daughter and daughter-in-law were always asking me for recipes, so I put a book together for them.  I'm still adding to the book little by little. Now when we have a family gathering, they just turn to the book and tell me what they are going to bring to the table.

I'm going to share the book with you, my faithful blog readers.  You have given so much to me over the years with your support, love, and laughter. I appreciate you more than you will ever know. Click HERE to download the cookbook.

Bon Appetit! 


Friday, December 17, 2021

Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday while I was in my sewing room, I listened to a podcast about the famous editorial by Francis Church published in the New York Sun newspaper in response to a question by 8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon in 1897.

I had always known about this famous editorial, but I never really read it.  My favorite sentence in the editorial is, "The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see."

Enjoy the editorial and read it, then read it again.  Take it to heart.  

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. 

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. 
Not believe In Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 
No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


Another favorite sentence is, "Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world."   

As you go about your day, think about the unseen wonders.



Thursday, December 16, 2021

Canary in the Coal Mine

Hello Everyone,

I'm a bit late with my post today.  I've been shoveling the newly fallen snow before it becomes Sierra cement.

Have you heard the phrase, "Canary in the Coalmine?"  I have Jim Shore Christmas ornaments in my canary carrier.

This carrier held 12 canaries as they were carried down into a gold mine here on the West Coast.  In the East, they would have been placed in a coalmine.  The foothills of Northern California have a rich history of gold mining, and my assumption is it was used here in gold country.  The canaries were placed around the interior of a mine as they are very sensitive to toxic gases, particularly carbon monoxide.

I found this carrier in an antique store ages ago.  I knew exactly how I was going to use it for display.  This is my favorite Santa given to me by my dear friend QuiltSue from England.  This Santa keeps all of the other ornaments in line by holding court every day.

The ornaments are very colorful and full of detail.

In doing my research for this post, I found this apparatus.  The canaries that were found bottoms up, were placed in this resuscitation device.  So, I'm hopeful that some of the sweet little birds survived.  I'm also hopeful that some of the birds saved a lot of lives.

I'm going to take a big breath of mountain air and celebrate the great outdoors.......while I'm shoveling.  Hopefully I won't go bottoms up!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Inside a Snow Globe

 Hello Everyone,

.....and since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow 𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰

This is the backyard the day before the snow started.  We had almost 4" of rain in 24 hours.  In the night, the rain came down in buckets, and the wind howled.  The trees were whipping around like a whirling dervish. Then the rain turned to snow, a peaceful silent snow. 

I discovered that I'm fluent in silence, and become mesmerized when it snows. There's beauty everywhere I look.

When I was out and about checking for wind damage, I saw these tracks under the edge of the deck.  Now I'm not a great tracker, but these are bear tracks.  The bear walked right under my sewing room window, and then under the deck. Then it walked up the back stairs, pushed the gate open, and walked across the deck.  YIKES!

We feel as though we are inside our own personal snow globe.  We had company coming for dinner, but I still took the time for a "timeout" in my chair for my afternoon reading time.  I call it my reading time, but sometimes it turns into naptime. 

I got the chance yesterday to use my new ergonomic snow shovel.  Mr. Joe is so thoughtful, and only buys the best for me.  HA!  While he clears the driveway with the snowblower, I clear off the steps and make a path to the cabin.  We, and the entire town will be out and about today in preparation for the arrival of the next storm rolling in this afternoon. All of next week looks stormy too.  I hope and pray all of this precipitation will make a dent in our drought.  Flakes are welcome here!

𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰 The fire burns down to embers, but at our age who remembers?  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰𝅘𝅥𝅰


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Mittens With Moxie

 Hello Everyone,

I made a batch of Mittens with Moxie in 2013.  They were just so darn cute!

I put a little old-fashioned tag on them.  The twins were about 10 at the time, and they wrote all of the names on the tags for me. 

You can use the mittens as ornaments on the tree.  Or the medium and large mittens make great holders for a gift card.  Or you can use them as place cards on your Holiday table to hold a setting of silverware.

Mr. Joe made me a stand from a wine stave, and we displayed them on the mantel for years.

Several years ago, I made a set of mittens for our dearest friends, Santa Mike and Mrs. Mike.  We had to add on a little trailer to their display when they were blessed with more grandchildren. 

Santa Mike has been part of our family's Christmas tradition for years.  We would always begin with the reading of The Polar Express. Years ago, Kinsey volunteered to read the story to everyone.  When the little kids heard the bells, (thanks to a cell phone and someone hiding in the kitchen, the bells were right on cue), Santa Mike appeared in our courtyard ringing bells and we could hear a faint ho, ho, ho.

This is the same grandson who came to the cabin last weekend and stacked wood.  How quickly the years have flown by.

This is a family tradition I will always cherish.

So now for the best part, I'm giving the Mittens with Moxie pattern to all of you!

I figured out how you can download the pattern for FREE from my blog.  Click HERE for the front and back of the pattern with the fabric requirements.  

Click HERE for the directions.

I had forgotten that I also made a tutorial for the mittens.  Tutorial HERE.

I hope you will add a little "Moxie" to your Christmas.  They are fun to make and you can use of lots of varied Christmas fabrics.


Monday, December 13, 2021

Meals on Wheels

Hello Everyone,

The "Meals on Wheels" table has arrived and is sitting smack dab in the middle of the great room.  After Christmas we will move it into the dining room where the Christmas tree now resides.

My friend Kaaren, thought we should sell tickets and video the delivery of this heavy table.  We live on a hill, and have stairs coming down to the cabin.  I suggested the delivery men should just sit on the table and ride it down the hill to the front door. They weren't too keen on my idea. Two burly men showed up and made quick work of the delivery.  They removed the wheels and brought it down in two sections.  We found out the table was made in India out of mango wood.  I'm sure this well-traveled table has a good story to tell.  

The table was delivered right during the time when we were decorating the cabin, and we had to clear the tubs and bins away before they could get it in the door.

Mr. Joe and I took the legs off the old dining room table and moved it into my sewing room.  It is great having a big workspace directly across from my sewing machine.  I spent a day or two rearranging and clearing a space for it.  Bringing in a new piece of furniture into an already crowded house, has a domino effect.  

I told you in my last post that our son and grandsons were coming for the weekend.  They surprised us with a truckload of wood for Christmas.  It was the best, and most thoughtful gift ever!

In between playing games, and keeping two teenage boys fed, we took Mazey for a walk at the local track.  The boys built a small snowman in the meadow.  By tomorrow, we probably won't be able to get out and drive to the track.  We will have to be content with walking Mazey around the neighborhood.  She, and I will both love that.

It rained most of the night and we received almost an inch of some much-needed rain.  It is supposed to snow for most of today, tonight and tomorrow.  Mr. Joe tuned up the snowblower and bought me a new, ergonomically designed snow shovel. Isn't he thoughtful?  Insert grimace face here!  I will put the shovel to work this week and let you know if it makes my job any easier.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Pieceful Gathering Pieceful Retreat

 Hello Everyone,

I'm so excited to announce that I will be teaching Patchwork Math, aka Finessing the Figures at the Pieceful Gathering retreat in Fox Grove, Il Friday March 11 - through Sunday March 13th, 2022.

I'm really looking forward to visiting their shop.  It is full of everything I love about quilting. Click HERE for a link to the shop.

This is my most popular workshop, and here is a brief overview:

This all-day class is intended for everyone, from a beginner to a seasoned quilter. The class and companion reference manual includes quilting formulas and instructions to make 12 popular quilting components….any size….from quarter square triangles, square in a triangle, square in a square, and Y-squares, to three different kinds of flying geese and more. I will show and discuss easy-peasey ways to construct quilting components, and how to assemble them into an assortment of different blocks. Learn how to dissect complicated blocks into manageable units with the straightforward formulas, and uncomplicated construction techniques. The techniques and formulas can be applied to blocks, block framing ideas, sashings, and border treatments. Never be afraid of quilting math again!

This is a sample of some of the blocks we will create.

It is so easy constructing the blocks using the block layout sheet.

You will also learn how to make a ribbon sashing.

Here is some information about the retreat from the shop:

The Retreat fees will cover four meals. We will gather for dinner and have some kind of Ice Breaker Friday Evening. Saturday we will be serving a box lunch, and then we will have dinner and some kind of game or activity, with Show & Tell to follow. Sunday we have arranged for a nice Brunch. For Saturday breakfast, the hotel does have a restaurant on the premises that serves a selection of reasonably priced breakfast choices. We will also have Coffee, Tea and some bottled drinks available in our sewing room on Saturday and Sunday. We will have more details about meals and meal choices when we send out our final email to registrants.

Retreat sign-up for a single click HERE.

Retreat sign-up for a double click HERE.

Retreat sign-up for a commuter click HERE.

More information directly from the shop:
Covid Protocals:
We know this is a concern for all of you and for us as well, so this is what we have come up with:
Cancellation by Us: For our part, we will make this work if at all possible. The hotel has told us that if Illinois decides to shut down again, we will be able to reschedule to a later date. If that should happen, we will contact at that time with options for rescheduling or refunds.
Cancellation by You: This will be handled on a case by case basis, and will depend somewhat on how late you cancel, and if we are able to fill your spot. Since we will be obligated to pay for the room, meals and instructor once reservations have been finalized, you may not receive a full refund, if any.
At the retreat:
Owing to the demographics of our usual customers, we are going to assume that you are all fully vaccinated, that you have acquired natural immunities by having the virus, or both. We do not want to be the Covid Police and check your Covid passports, so you are on your honor.
The hotel is pretty loosey goosey about mask wearing, although at this time, the state is still requiring masks in public areas. We do not plan to require masks in the sewing room. If you wish to wear one, that is up to you - we understand. Hopefully, by March Illinois will have lifted the mask mandate.

So, think about giving yourself the gift of a retreat.  Retreats are so much fun and become a real learning and bonding experience.  I would love to be able to meet some of my readers from the Midwest.  I don't venture out of the state to teach, so this is a first for me too!  An added bonus is that my sister Gail will be joining us.


Saturday, December 11, 2021

A New Madrigal

 Hello Everyone,

This is the center section of my Madrigal quilt.

This is going to be a new version of Madrigal using the A Return to Elegance fabric by Judie Rothermel.  With a big storm looming on the horizon, I wanted to have some hand work ready in case the power goes out.

This is going to be my palette.

My sister made all of the blocks for me to incorporate into the newest version.

Here's my first Madrigal quilt.

Here's my second Madrigal.  I love filling the open space with feathers.

Click HERE for a link to my extensive tutorial on marking a scalloped border. It is much easier than you think it is to measure and mark the scallops.

I'll be working on my applique in front of the fire next week.  This is also where I will be working on Christmas cards.  It will be nice and cozy in front of the fire as the temps are supposed to plummet, and baby it will be cold outside!

One of our sons called yesterday afternoon and wondered what we were doing for the weekend.  He, and two of our grandsons are coming up to the cabin to enjoy the storm.  Secretly, I think they want to get snowed in and miss a few days of school. They will have to go back on Sunday, so they will miss the bulk of the snow. This table is going to be the location of many Monopoly games beginning this afternoon.  We have the National Parks version of Monopoly, and the boys LOVE it.  We play it for so long, we have to combine the money from two sets. They are absolutely cut-throat players.  In the National Parks version, you have tents and lodges instead of houses and hotels.  Park Place and Boardwalk are Yellowstone and Yosemite.  It's a great gift for Monopoly lovers out there.

After our son called, we dashed off to the packed grocery store to stock up for two teenage boys and a grown man.  Everyone is town was there stocking up for the duration of the storm.  I saw the adjusted snow totals this morning, and Arnold is supposed to get 18" of snow from Sunday to Wednesday.  Town will come to a screeching halt except for the people who sled down the main street of town. 

We were supposed to go to Mr. Joe's SIRS (Sons in Retirement) Christmas dinner on Tuesday night.  We received the email yesterday that it's been cancelled.  We could have walked through the snow to get there, as we live close to the Lodge.  I would have looked charming in my Christmas outfit decked out with snow boots!

If you don't hear from me next week, I'll be sitting at the table appliqueing and writing.  Sounds like the perfect storm of activity to me!