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

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: July Ohio Star

July’s Ohio Star quilt block represents the dense, verdant environment of the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

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July’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

In late April of 2011, my fiancé and I moved into our house, which has woods at the back-property line. In June, we flew to Alaska to marry. When I left Ohio for our 2-week trip, I thought summer had bloomed, that the trees were at their peak—the world was lush. We returned to woods that were a dense, dark green. I’ve never forgotten the difference that a couple of weeks made.

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Woods in early June.

July is summer settling in. The bright green of spring doesn’t dull because the novelty has worn off, but rather the leaves darken with the progression of the season. I love it. I love looking for signs of the seasons. I love the surprise of the differences.

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Woods in early July.

I find it curious that I relish in the nature of southwestern Ohio so much. I grew up in Alaska, a state that for sure has vistas far more extreme and striking. I figure that I either tune into nature because Alaska taught me to or because I am filling a void created when I left the Last Frontier. You can take the girl out of Alaska, but you can’t take Alaska out of the girl: she’s going to find nature no matter what? Perhaps.

The Cincinnati area is a great place to get regular doses of nature. Cincinnatians value parks. There are many, many green spaces. When I lived in Hyde Park and Oakley, I often visited Ault Park. Now, in a northern suburb, Sharon Woods is our go-to. Not to mention Loveland has a river running right through it and boasts an extensive bike trail along with abundant parks. Neighboring Symmes Township also has a couple of parks we patronize. So, if I don’t notice the shift in color in the woods behind my house, then surely, I’ll take note elsewhere.

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Detail of summer-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

So, for July, I made my Ohio Star in three hues of green with a center of brown. It may not match the colors found in the woods behind my house, but the layering of color is reminiscent.

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July’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: June Ohio Star

June’s Ohio Star symbolizes the tri-state geography of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, which includes part of Kentucky and Indiana in addition to Ohio.

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June’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

If you fly into Cincinnati, you’ll know that you don’t actually arrive in Ohio. Instead, you land across the river in Kentucky. If you drive the I-275 loop that defines the Greater Cincinnati area, you’ll travel through three states: Ohio, of course, Kentucky, and a smidge of Indiana. Cincinnati belongs to a tri-state area and it doesn’t go unnoticed. For my June Ohio Star, I decided to pay tribute to this geographic quirk.

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Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

I spent four and a half years working in Kentucky. That is, I drove approximately 40 miles one way, crossing the Ohio River, to a job only a few miles across the border. There, I worked with people from all three states. I tend to think of the part of Kentucky that lands in the Greater Cincinnati area as “Kentucky-Light” or maybe even “Ohio-Light.” I crossed state lines to get to work, but it didn’t feel like I was in a different state.

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Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

For the duration of my job in Kentucky, the consensus was that Kentuckians didn’t want to live in Ohio and Ohioans didn’t want to live in Kentucky. (A lot of people had river-hopped in one direction or another and had made their final choice. My 80-mile round-trip commute was hard on me and a few times my husband mused that maybe we should move to Kentucky to be closer. I always said no. Because the job would never last that long (I was right), and because I moved here to live in Ohio, not Kentucky. No offense, Kentucky. Although, I feel that way about other parts of Ohio and even Indiana. Presented with two job layoffs in my short career, and thus going through extensive job searches, nearby cities always seem to hold dream jobs: Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis. But, when push comes to shove, I moved here to live in Cincinnati, not another city. And, if I’m going to move 2 hours away, I might as well move back to Alaska.

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Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

My block is subtle this month. I broke the 9-patch into three sections and gave each one a color. Purple for Ohio. Blue for Kentucky. Green for Indiana. I like to think of the center white block as Cincinnati itself. The points of the star are Cincinnati’s influence extending beyond the city limits and into different states and counties, beyond the I-275 loop. All of the fabrics are from my stash, and I have to say, I love the colors!

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June’s Ohio Star Quilt Block