Monday, December 29, 2014

Sixteen Patches with Blue

What can I say? I started another one. You know I am always making 4-patches with scraps. I often cut 2 1/2 inch squares from leftover bits of fabric and have them handy for leaders and enders by my sewing machine. You can accumulate quite a few 4-patches in the course of making other things.

Anyway, I decided to make a blue quilt like the red one I made here

But then I had an idea to change it up a little.

I like it. We'll see where it goes from here. 

And I actually have a Christmas cactus blooming!  It didn't make its appearance quite on time, but it was close. I've had it out on the patio, but I brought it in so I can enjoy it here in the window looking out on the chicken yard.

The weather outside is hot that great right now, gloomy and rainy and cold with more in the forecast.  Good weather for sewing, huh?!! I am thankful to have plenty to keep me from ever being bored! i hope you do, too.

Hugs and kisses,

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas and a Finish

We had a delightful Christmas at our son and daughter in love's house. And I finished this quilt in time to gift them for Christmas! Yay! I'm calling this one Oriental Tropics. The prints on the front are all tropical in nature and the backing is a soft, Oriental lantern print fleece.

Here's a better look at the front. It just seems full of sunshine to me.

Meanwhile here at Muddle Manor, the angel trumpet plants (trees, really) are just full of blooms right now. This is the yellow one just outside the back patio.

And this is the pink one by the chicken yard. I guess they must really like the rain and cooler temperatures we've had lately, because they are just happy as can be, and the fragrance - even on a cool night - is just heavenly!
Big news ------- believe it or not, I am totally caught up on the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt from Bonnie Hunter. She had mercy on us and had a very easy Step 5.

Bruno, of course, has been my constant companion and helper at all times. I do love my dog!

We had such a good time with our Mary here for Christmas. Our son and daughter in love took us all out for seafood lunch yesterday. Delicious! And Mary  went back to New York State and the real cold this morning. Maybe one of these days she will decide to move back down here. We hope!

I hope you had a really good Christmas and that you have recovered now from all the stress and hurrying. It is such a wonderful time of the year, especially when those we love most are near!

Hugs and kisses,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


First of all:   progress - all of Part 1, half of Part 2, all of Part 3 and almost half of Part 4 complete of the Grand Illusion Mystery.

There are more components lined up and waiting by the sewing machine. I am excited to be this far along.

 I have no real confidence that I will catch up this week because there is just too much going on. And the big news is our baby girl Mary is getting in tonight from New York!!! All of our little family will be here in town for Christmas, and we will all be together for Christmas dinner!  

I've been working on another quilt, but I can't show you that one yet. The binding is cut and I will get it sewn on soon.

I got such a sweet gift in the mail from Sheila this week - a teeny tiny zipper pouch. Her work is amazing, and the Laurel Burch fabric is just so pretty!  Thank you so much, Sheila!  Your kindness touches my heart.  Sheila does some beautiful work and at this time of year it is really impressive when she completes all the projects she's been working on all year. 

I got this little "happy" from my sister Sue. I laughed right out loud when I opened it - a sock monkey strap minder! (You do remember how much I like sock monkeys, don't you?)
It is cold here (Don't laugh, Anna!), and the pets are all enjoying warm places to cuddle up, except for Chloe - I don't know where she is, but her toy mouse is waiting patiently for her.

I do love this time of year. There is a sweetness in most of the people I meet when I'm out and about that is not there all the time. Maybe at least some of us feel the love of God that He would send His only Son to earth to die for our sins.  I know I do! And I'm so thankful.

I hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas! Enjoy your loved ones. And remember the REASON for the season.

Hugs and kisses and lots of love,

Thursday, December 18, 2014

One More Week!

Christmas has really done a sneak attack on me this year. How did it here so fast? Well, it's not here yet, but only a week away. 

I got the traditional cookies all made and they are in the mail!  Hallelujah! If you look in the photo above, you will see that our back door was open yesterday while I was baking. Ah, Houston, got to love it in the Winter. Summer, not so much. 

My Bruno. I do love this dog!
I was playing Christmas music yesterday while doing the rest of the baking and Ruthie's parakeet, Pete was singing along. He especially liked Handel's Messiah!  

The good news is I finished Step 3 of the Grand Illusion Mystery. Now I have to go back and finish Step 2. Hopefully before Step 4 comes out tomorrow!

It is a gray, rainy day here today, and really - I'd like to go back to bed, but there is much still to do. So, I'd better get to doing it!

I hope your preparations are going smoothly and that you're having a wonderful day. Take time to breathe!

Hugs and kisses,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Progress or Lack Thereof

So, I have a grand total of ten of the double diamond blocks completed for Step 2 of the Grand Illusion Mystery. But I think I have it figured out now. Just haven't made any more yet. But I will. I will. Honest.

Step 3 is WAY easier. Here is the start of it. I don't anticipate problems making the full amount of these. Just have to find the time.
Yes, the dogs are on the edge of their seats (bed) cheering me on. Note Lady's big yawn!

I finished the top for this lap size quilt and got the backing cut. My friend Sandy's sister Peggy is going to quilt this one for me. Thank you Peggy!!!

I have the borders sewn on to the "tropical" quilt top I made to reinforce my confidence. Backing is chosen, but not assembled. 

Our sweet neighbor Eva shared with us some of the delicious peanut brittle she made. Oh, my, it was (yes, WAS) so good! 

I picked the last of the butterbeans on Thursday and got them shelled. When my siblings and I were children we always had a big garden at our house. It was a matter of necessity to have enough food to stretch the grocery budget through the winter months. We always liked shelling these colorful beans best of all. And they taste good, too!

Christmas came early for me!  Mr. Muddling added two charms to my bracelet. They are so pretty! 

Christmas is approaching so fast and I am far behind on my preparations. I have LOTS of cookies that need to be baked, so that will have to happen soon.

I do hope you are having a good time and that you are doing a better job than I am of staying on track with your projects.

Hugs and kisses,

Monday, December 8, 2014


After being so proud of myself and confident (after all I had completed all of step one of the Grand Illusion Mystery ahead of time!) I hit the wall with Part 2.  I just could not seem to wrap my head around how the double diamond blocks worked. I have finally managed to get a whopping four blocks (out of the required 100) done. And they are far from perfect. As I said in the blog title - humbled.

Naturally I had to do something to restore my confidence levels, so I started making these cute little blocks. I have four different fabrics that I cut from and just kept adding borders until I got them the size I wanted (in this case 8 1/4 inches).

Here's another one. These just make me happy.

And here are all thirty blocks on the design wall.  I am using the bright orange batik as sashing between the blocks. Ah, much better.

Here's another stress reliever (What, you didn't know that stressed spelled backward is desserts??) The is a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread. It's made in the crock pot!  If you click on the link it will take you to the recipe. It uses fresh cranberries and canned pumpkin and turns out really good, and moist, too!

This was lunch today. A friend posted a picture on that great tempter, Facebook, today and it inspired me to make this. It's just sliced potatoes and chopped onions, sauteed in a little canola oil, then add chopped smoked sausage and a couple of handfuls of those lovely long thin green beans (mine were frozen), sprinkle of garlic powder and cooked in my cast iron skillet with its lid on over low/medium heat until done. Keep an eye on it and turn every little once in a while. I know, very involved recipe, huh? It was good though!

These African violets blooming in the kitchen window make me happy, too. I am all about being happy!  How about you?

I do hope you are having a good week so far. I'm not giving up on the mystery quilt. I will conquer!

Hugs and kisses,

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Look at this block. It just makes me smile. I see fabrics that I like, for different reasons. The black is one of a stash pack I purchased from Wanda. Thinking of her always makes me smile. I have learned so much from her over the years of reading her blog. Such a generous heart!

I used my Go! cutter for the little half square triangles. 

AND....I'm really happy that all 100 of the blocks for Part One of the Grand Illusion Mystery are complete!!!

I even completed the other 80 hst's required, and a few extras. I'm on a roll!  Just hope I can continue at this pace. I am excited.

Last night I finished sewing this little top together and now am thinking about borders. It's not quite big enough, so it needs some pretty good sized borders.

And wouldn't you know it, I have ideas for more! At least I'm never bored.

What's exciting in your world?  I hope you're having a really good week!

Hugs and kisses,

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Illusion Mystery

I'm going to try once again to make a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt. At least this time I have a pretty good start made. (To my shame, I have actually started and abandoned a couple of these mysteries before.) 

That is 31 completed blocks for the first step. And you can see I have components beside my favorite machine (a Singer 1940 Model 201) ready to put together. I think I can. I think I can!

We did get our Christmas tree up over the weekend, always a good thing!

And today I made a pecan pie. There might have been some of it consumed by me. Maybe.

We have a cold front blowing in right now, so the pleasant days of being able to enjoy the swing on the patio are done for now. But it is a good reason stay inside and sew. ;)

Hope your week has started off well!

Hugs and kisses,