T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: December Ohio Star

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December’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

December’s Ohio Star quilt block is for my daughter, who was born this month 5 years ago. I transformed the traditional quilt block to represent a ladybug, or ladybird. My nickname for my firstborn is “Ladybird” and I’ve called her this since she was an infant.

I was raised in a family of 6 children and we were nicknamers. Everyone had a long list of nicknames. Mine included Mush, Melly, and Tessie Lou. As if written in my genes, creating playful monikers for my kids comes easy to me. Without even thinking about it, “Ladybird” slipped out of my mouth one day as I talked to my daughter while changing her diaper.

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Detail of December’s Ohio Star quilt block.

I didn’t even really know what the name meant. I was aware that Hank, of “King of the Hill,” had a dog named Ladybird and that Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife went by “Lady Bird.” So, I suppose the name was buried somewhere in my subconscious, to be excavated by something about my chunky baby. It wasn’t until my daughter’s nickname was established that I learned “ladybird” is another term for ladybug.

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Detail of ladybug-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

When starting this quilt, I knew that I’d make a block for each of my family members, my husband, my son, and my daughter. Brainstorming ideas for my daughter, I thought of ladybirds and ladybugs. I decided I’d make a ladybug-colored block, much like I did my cardinal block. Researching ladybugs, I learned that it’s Ohio’s state insect! C’mon, how perfect is that? This block is doubly Ohioan! And, the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden website reports the insect is “officially named the Ladybird Beetle.”

In my mind’s eye, I see a ladybug with black polka dots on red. But, when I Googled images and studied one that I found in my yard, I realized they have white spots on their heads. That’s why the top points of the star are done in white. I replaced the solid center block with another block of quarter square triangles. This adds to the “polka dot” look.

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Ladybird I spotted in my yard.

This was a fun block to put together, since it represents my daughter who I delight in so much. It’s also the last block for this quilt! I can’t believe it. Next month, I will have lived in Ohio for 11 years. And, early next year, I hope to share with you progress on this quilt—the assembly of the top and quilting!

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December’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: November Ohio Star

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November’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

November’s Ohio Star quilt block represents winter in Southwestern Ohio. The clouds seem to get thicker and heavier in winter. They hold a spectrum of gray hues and deposit sometimes a lot of snow and sometimes not much snow at all. November is the continuation of October: cooler months that welcome me outside.

Now, I will admit that I fudged this block a bit. I rarely see snow here before Christmas. Winter doesn’t even make its official entrance until December, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like winter until January. But, if you’ll remember, January’s block was for my husband whose birthday is that month. December’s block (spoiler alert!) will be for my daughter who has her birthday that month. So, November gets winter.

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Detail of winter-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

For this block, I was inspired by snow-heavy clouds, and the deep gray color tree trunks seem to take on during this season. I chose two shades of gray fabric. Each with cloud-like, curvy, swirly patterns. It reminds me of going for a hike along the Little Miami River in the middle of winter. Crunching along a snow-covered path and pausing at the river’s edge. Watching my breath swirl in the cool air, mixing with snowflakes lazily drifting down.

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Detail of November’s Ohio Star quilt block.

If you have a keen eye, you’ll see that the center is the same Charley Harper fabric from April’s Ohio Star quilt block. If you look back at all my Ohio Star blocks, some fabrics are repeated. I did this for two reasons: to add a bit of consistency in this wildly varied quilt and for economy. Why go shopping for a particular color of fabric when I can find it in my stash?

Can you believe this project only has one more month? I can hardly believe it myself! It has been so much fun to reflect on my 10 years of life in Ohio and I’m going to treasure this quilt—not only because it’s one of my firsts, but because of all the stories I’m stitching into it!

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November’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

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

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

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: August Ohio Star

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August’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

August’s Ohio Star quilt block represents my son, born this month three years ago.

To the discerning eye, these are UK colors—the blue and white of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. You’re right. My son was not born in Ohio.

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Detail of Kentucky-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

At 32 weeks pregnant, my family and I headed to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky for an annual weekend trip. On Saturday night, I went into labor, but I didn’t really know I was in the early stages of labor. My doctor (in Ohio) told me to take it easy and get some sleep. That doesn’t help when you’re in labor. Sunday morning, instead of driving back to Ohio, my husband drove me to Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.

Delivering at 32 weeks isn’t great. It really isn’t great when you’re a 4-hour drive from home. But! We were in the best, worst-case scenario. The doctor and nurses were friendly, smart, and on the same page as us! My son came out breathing and eating on his own! There was no need to transfer him to a larger hospital with higher-level NICU over an hour away (but still in Kentucky)! We went home after about 12 days in the hospital! (That’s a long time, but a mere blip on the calendar compared to other preemies.)

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Detail of Kentucky-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

I had to include my son in my Ohio Star quilt, because my kids and husband (remember January’s block?) are the main reasons I enjoy living in Ohio. My son wasn’t born here, but besides those 12 days in Kentucky, he’s lived here his whole life. His Kentucky origin will always be a twist in his story. He’ll say he grew up in Ohio, but has a Kentucky birth certificate. I can’t wait to hear this story in his own words and the perspective he puts on it.

This block was easy to make. I followed the traditional pattern in iconic Wildcats white and royal blue.

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August’s Ohio Star Quilt Block