T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: October Ohio Star

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October’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

I made October’s Ohio Star quilt block represent the colors of the changing leaves because I love this season in Southwestern Ohio. It’s not just the changing landscape, it’s also the changing weather. As a born-and-raised Alaskan, the heat of the summer is hard on me. Also, the bugs and insects that thrive in the heat are hard to handle. (There are very few large creepy-crawlies in Alaska—and there are no snakes!) Fall in Ohio brings cooler temperatures that welcome me outside.

Also, I consider this block my husband’s second or “real” block. While January’s block represents him, those shirts, his work shirts, aren’t really him. But fall? That’s him. We met in August after I had been in Ohio 8 months. Our first months of dating were spent taking advantage of the season: we went on a hike almost every weekend. We went kayaking. We went biking. When we went out to dinner, we ate outside. The cool weather made it comfortable.

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Detail of autumn-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

Every year since then, I am reminded how much fun it is to get outside with the ones you love. There’s the color show that the trees put on and the fun of discovering acorns, black walnuts, buckeyes, and Osage oranges, all things falling from trees right now.

These days, I don’t have too much time to go on long hikes and bike rides, but I have stumbled upon another joy of fall: mulching leaves. I firmly believe that leaves are not trash; they’re just future dirt. Since we got an electric lawn mower (so much easier to use than a gas-powered mower), I have taken over leaf duty. Instead of blowing them to the curb for pick up, I run the mower over the yard every time it gets covered in leaves. It’s satisfying to see the transformation. Also, it’s like going for a walk—repetitive work that gives my brain some downtime to just wander. And, while it’s a good exercise, since it’s cool, I don’t turn into a sweaty mess.

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Detail of October’s Ohio Star quilt block.

Making this quilt block felt natural. The fabrics came straight from my stash. Some were borrowed from previous months’ blocks, which will lend some consistency when I put the quilt all together. I wanted to include as many hues as possible to capture the variety displayed in nature during this season.

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October’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

Organizing My Quilts

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New storage bins filled with 2 of my in-progress quilts.

I recently decided that my office/sewing/crafting room needs to be about 1000x more organized than what it is. I’m slowly, but surely, tackling this task.

First up was organizing my in-progress quilts. I have 3 quilts that are in different stages of completion. One is clearly in need of being finished first and I have moved it to the front burner. The other two have been pushed to the back burners—or should I say, into storage bins? My Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt and my Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt are neatly tucked into these bins, but they won’t be forgotten!

The bins have EVERYTHING I need for these quilts. The Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt has an extensive pattern and lots of templates. All of this is at the bottom of the bin. All of the fabric I’ve been using is in the bin. The partially finished top and partially finished, unattached borders are in the bin. Ditto for the Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt—everything is in the bin.

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My quilting/sewing notebook.

To make it easier to quickly pick back up where I left off with these quilts, I started a quilting/sewing notebook. I’ve written each quilt or project at the top of a page and listed out what needs to be done. Sometimes I write steps out, work on the quilt, and then reprioritize the steps. Not a big deal. These are just quick notes to jumpstart progress when I’m ready.

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My notes on what needs to be done next with my Dazzling Pineapple Patch Quilt.

Organizing the rest of the room is going to be a slow process, but it has inspired a couple of things. First, I now feel a new motivation to HURRY UP AND FINISH a handful of projects that are in various stages of completion. (This, of course, doesn’t apply to those 2 quilts sitting quietly in their bins—ha!) I have an afghan that needs to be repaired. I have a quilt with binding that is falling off. I have half a dozen painted secondhand picture frames that just need to be reassembled. For some good old-fashioned organization, I’m ready to start seriously tackling these projects and moving them out of the room.

Also, I have discovered that I’m at willing to put a lot of other crafts on hold indefinitely. That is, I’ve always dabbled in this and that—paper crafting, painting objects, knitting/crocheting—but, I’m ready to simplify to make more time and space for quilting. Not that I have a ton of that kind of stuff, but it’s enough. Did you know that I’ve been toting around the same box of craft paper since I was in portfolio school? I mean, I graduated from that school in 2007! I think it’s about time I let my kids go to town with the paper. I have an awl from a short book-making stint. I don’t think I’ll be making notebooks anytime soon. Of course, this is a chicken-egg situation: did my desire to organize spawn the willingness to reduce my craft supplies; or is my craft-downsizing motivating my organization? I don’t know, but I’m rolling with it!

 

Starting My Quilt Portfolio

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The spine of my portfolio. Using one of my quilt labels made labeling the portfolio easy peasy!

I started a quilt portfolio this past summer. In it are the whopping 2 quilts I’ve finished this year. (Sorry, the chicken wall hanging didn’t make the cut.) I created a quilt portfolio simply so that I can have a record of what quilts I’ve made. I also want a permanent, physical way to show my quilts to others, even if the quilts are no longer in my possession.

There are a couple of factors that led me to start a portfolio. First, I went to portfolio school, where I studied advertising copywriting and learned to keep a portfolio of my work. So, it feels natural to keep a portfolio of my other creative work. That’s a huge reason for this portfolio.

But then, there’s social media. I’ve used social media to chronicle and record my creations and life, but recently, I’ve had a change of heart. This year, I deleted approximately 145 posts from this blog. (Did you notice? Ha!) I also deleted the first blog I ever wrote—like, completely took it down. Every day I fall less in love with Facebook and while Instagram is my go-to social media platform, I realize that 1, 5, 10 years from now, I may fall out of love with it, or make the decision to abandon it completely. Social media is a great way to share creative work, but I want something that isn’t going to get overcrowded with ads or have a distinguishable shift in usage. When is the last time you couldn’t access a physical photo album (which a portfolio essentially is) because you lost your password, or you couldn’t flip to the pictures you were interested in seeing because it became filled with ads and other junk?

Because of this, I set out to create a quilt portfolio, something simple, but something that would capture the patterns, colors, and stories behind my quilts. I started in PowerPoint. I’m not a graphic designer by any means, but that doesn’t matter too much to me for this project. I laid out the best pictures I could get with my iPhone (once again, I’m looking for snapshots, not necessarily polished photos), and then wrote out the details and the story behind the quilt.

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My first finish this year: Dazzling Pineapple Mini Quilt. The layout is simple and gets the job done.

I had the pages printed at one of those office-y places and then I glued on swatches of the fabric I used for one of the quilts. This is one of my favorite parts. While my photos and the printing may not have captured the true colors of the quilt, these swatches do. I got a snazzy 3-ring binder from an office supply store and slipped the portfolio pages into sheet protectors and snapped them in.

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My favorite part: swatches! The stitching here was my quick study for when I did the real thing on my Welcome Blanket Quilt.

It’s going to be a slow-growing portfolio—ahem, there are only 2 quilts in there. But, so what? This will give me something to look back at and remember what I’ve made. I also like to think that if someone wants me to make a quilt for them, they can flip through this and get an idea of what they want. Who knows?

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I picked this binder for the quilt-esque pattern in bright colors.

Do you have a quilt (or other creative) portfolio? How did you make it? Do you feel any ambivalence towards using social media as a way to record your creations? Tell me in the comments!

Fixing My Chicken Wall Hanging

Sometimes my first attempt isn’t my best. (Surprise!) Five years after making it, I have finally fixed the droopy top of the chicken wall hanging in my kitchen.

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Sagging top–you can even see the middle hook!

I started this chicken wall hanging back in 2012 and maybe finished in 2013. It’s all a little hazy. The pattern is “Ditzy Chicks” by Sharon Berna of Redbird Designs. I love the pattern because I love chicken décor in my kitchen. I enjoyed starting this wall hanging because I began when my mom was visiting and we picked out the fabric together and she even helped me do the appliqué. Buuuut, this felt way more like a craft project than a quilt, probably because I wanted chicken décor for my kitchen, not because I necessarily wanted to make a quilt. (I have since changed, of course.)

As an amateur, I stitched plastic rings to the top of the back “wherever seemed good” and then stuck a trio of Command hooks on my kitchen wall. Well, the top 2-3” have always drooped. It took me so long to complete the darn thing and a whole lot of motivation, I just ignored it, until recently, when I decided to remedy the droop—or, at least, decided to attempt to remedy.

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The plastic rings before: stitched on only at the bottom.

First, I took the wall hanging off the hooks. It was dusty—hello, it hadn’t been touched in 5 years! So, I popped it into the washer. Luckily, I’m in the prewash camp, so I didn’t have to worry about colors bleeding or shrinkage. Of course, it still came out a bit wrinkly. That just adds charm, right?

Next, one by one, I snipped off each plastic ring and raised it so that the top of it was about 0.75” from the top of the wall hanging. (I did a bit of measuring, math, and testing to ensure that the wall-mounted hooks wouldn’t show after the wall hanging was up.) I stitched the rings down at three points: 90, 180, and 270 degrees. (I feel hella-fancy describing it in that manner, by the way.)

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The plastic rings after: stitched down at 3 points.

After all the plastic rings were repositioned, I added one more thing: one of my brand-new quilt labels! Sure, this is NOT my best work (please don’t look at the quilting—what was I thinking?!), but I think it’s important to label your work. For me, it feels even more so, since I have kids. My 3-year-old son immediately noticed that this wall hanging was gone when it was in the wash. He asked why I took down the chickens. This piece of handmade décor is being ingrained in his childhood memories. With any luck, I’ll get to hand it down to one of my kids.

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Fancy new quilt labels!

And, with any luck, this chicken wall hanging will stay up on the wall another five years when I decide to wash the dust off again!

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Ta-da! The non-droopy, not sagging wall hanging. Of course, now it’s a bit wrinkly from the wash. I’m going to consider that “charm”…at least until I’m motivated to steam it. 😉

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: September Ohio Star

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September’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

September’s Ohio Star quilt block represents buckeyes. Because I love buckeyes—the nut, the sweet treat, and the people! The Ohio Buckeye was designated as the official state tree by the legislature in 1953. Ohioans are so enamored with this tree and its seed, that Ohio State University has Brutus Buckeye as a mascot. They make a candy that resembles the nut. And, if you’re an Ohioan, you can proudly call yourself a “Buckeye.” (I often say that I married and born-and-raised Buckeye.)

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Detail of buckeye-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

I fell in love with buckeyes, the seed, one fall afternoon when I lived in Oakley. I was walking along Erie Avenue to meet my friend at Coffee Emporium, when along a curvy section of the road in East Hyde Park, I discovered a buckeye right there in the middle of the sidewalk. When I picked it up, it was smooth, dense, and cool. The color of a new buckeye is a rich, chocolatey brown. On my walk back, I discovered more and the source, a tree that hung over the sidewalk. I noticed a pod and broke it open to see 2-3 buckeyes tucked inside.

What a fun find! I wanted to collect more, for nothing more than the novelty of holding the seed in my hand and marveling at the texture and color.

I also had the unfortunate experience of making buckeyes—the sweet treat—a few years back. I say unfortunate, because you do not under any circumstances make buckeyes without consulting a Buckeye for tips and recommendations. I distinctly remember showing my husband the buckeyes I made and he asked me where the holes were. As in, the hole from a toothpick used to swirl the peanut butter ball in chocolate. Um, I dunked each ball into the chocolate while it rested on a spoon or fork (I can’t remember). Also, I shared a picture of my non-Ohioan-made buckeyes on Facebook and was met with a “those are pretty sloppy” comment from a true Buckeye.

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My second attempt at buckeye candies.

Lesson learned. I did try my hand at making buckeye treats again so I could share a photograph with you. I used a toothpick. I tried to make them neat and tidy, but let us not forget that while I have lived in Ohio for 10 years, I have lived here for only 10 years—I’m no born-and-raised Buckeye!

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Buckeyes with buckeyes. Can you tell which is which? Ha!

This block was much easier to make than the treat. I chose a dark brown fabric for the dominant color and a warm tan fabric for the star color. I think it says “buckeye”—both the seed and the candy.

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September’s Ohio Star Quilt Block