Friday, December 30, 2011

Trip Around The World Start

When we moved here to Arizona, I brought along bins and bins of fabric.
I've organized baskets into colors, separating the yardage from the scraps.
What takes up a lot of room are the scraps.
You know, those little pieces usually smaller than a fat quarter, or WOF but only a few inches wide.
I've donated 3 large bags to my local quilt guild, but there appears to be as much fabric as I started out with.
I am determined not to move all this again, so my goal for 2012 is to use what I have.

One of the best sources I have found for scrap quilt patterns is Bonnie Hunter of Quiltsville.
I've just started working on her free pattern Scrappy Trip Around The World.
My fabric preferences have really changed.
At the price of fabric this is a great way to use up those old colors too precious to toss or give away.

Bonnie's pattern calls for 2 1/2" strips, but I decided to make mine smaller.
I've been cutting up my scraps into 2" strips.
Lots and lots of 2" strips.
(I have another quilt in mind that I will also be using these for, but more about that later)

This is the first time I have made a Trip Around The World quilt.
A very old and traditional pattern.
Bonnie gives great step by step instructions over on her web site.
I liked Bonnie's version because there is no need to match fabrics at any level
First you start by sewing (6) 2" strips together, and then sew them into a tube.
The colors can be very random, but it's a good idea to alternate lights with darks.

Sub cut into (6) 2" sections.
Unpick the rows alternating at each colored square.

Sew sections together to make a 9" block.

I've tossed each block up on the design wall in no particular order.
These will be re-arranged once all the blocks are completed.

Already a fun pattern is beginning to emerge.
This is one of those quilts where a scrappy block can be made from time to time in between other quilt projects.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

December Bloggers BOM

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas.
We had a wonderful time. Our daughter Elizabeth with her new husband Ben, plus our youngest son Paul drove from Salt Lake City to join us, along with our daughter Aubrey, for a few days. We went on hikes, watched movies, played board games, cooked and ate too much food, and enjoyed just being together.

Now that all of the frenzy of the holidays are over, it's so nice to relax and get back to the sewing machine.
Jackie just announced the December block for Blogger's BOM designed by Pat Sloan.
You can find Pat's tutorial HERE.

So fun to pull out the Kaffes.

So far, I've only been making one block each month, but I've seen a lot of other people making two.
I'm pondering doing the same.
Jackie has yet to reveal the quilt's setting, but I'm guessing 24 will look better than 12.

Block 4 has now sits on the design wall next to months 1-3

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me." (John 10:14)
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."
(John 10:27)
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. (Psalm 23)

Friday, December 23, 2011

More About Sheep

There are many good characteristics about sheep, too!
This animal has a strong presence in most major cultures.
They give their "all".
We find them useful for milk, meat, wool, skins and even bones.
As quilters, we often use wool in many of our projects.

Sheep can be obedient, gentle, trusting and affectionate.
They can remember an individual human for years.

Sheep are totally dependent upon a shepherd for their every need.
If they "cast" or flip over on their backs, they cannot get up.
If not turned over by the shepherd they will die of starvation.
The shepherd is considered the most calming influence.
(Although counting sheep can be considered a sleep aid)

Sheep know their shepherd's voice.
Once two bedouin shepherds in Palestine walked along a trail. Two flocks of sheep crossed paths and hundreds of sheep became mixed up.
None were branded.
After some confusion, each shepherd went some way down the road, turned and called their sheep.
Instantly the sheep became polarized as each headed towards their master.

The shepherd does not drive, but LEADS his sheep.
He will provide for his flock, dedicating his life in their care.
He will sleep by his sheep, eat with his sheep, and often knows each one by name.
There are times he will discipline, and yet when he finds a lost sheep, will often bring them back to the fold by carrying them on his back or shoulders.
The shepherd loves his sheep, and they love him.
Is it any wonder that the Savior, when looking for an analogy referred to us as SHEEP?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I've been studying a little bit about sheep lately, and thought you might be interested in a few things that I have learned.

Did you know that sheep need the most care of all livestock?
Dogs, cows, and horses can exist in the wild. Not sheep.
They are easily killed by enemies or starve.

Sheep are very timid and fearful. They panic easily.
In fact, they are considered to be quite dumb. You cannot train a sheep.
One afternoon a shepherd came upon two coyotes that had stealthily crept into the midst of a flock. They had killed a lamb and were eating it. The other sheep just stood around watching. They didn't know the danger.

Sheep constantly need fresh water, fresh pasture and eat constantly.
They are defenseless, easily disturbed and prone to mob psychology. If one starts to run, the entire flock will follow, even if it's over the edge of a cliff.
Their only self defense is to run, and yet are not swift in flight.
Sheep have no sense of direction and have a well deserved reputation for straying and getting lost.

They do not see well (usually up to about 14 feet) and have poor depth perception.
Sheep are creatures of habit, are very stubborn and not easily moved from their spot. They will insist on their own way, even eating poisonous plants or drinking dirty water.
Sheep are slow to learn.
Shepherds will tell stories of how sheep fail to learn painful lessons. For example, a sheep may get caught in a barbed wire trying to break through a fence. And the next day will try it again... and again... and again.
Where am I going with this?
More about sheep tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mesa Temple Christmas Lights

As we spend our first December here in Arizona, our family has been experiencing the local Christmas traditions.

Top most on our to-do list was to visit the Mesa Arizona Temple arrayed with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights.

This beautiful Temple sits upon 20 acres in downtown Mesa. The crowds were large last night with well managed activities through out the site.

It was fun to be with the family, especially the grandchildren who's eyes lit up as bright as the glistening lights.

As 3 year old Noah circled the pools of water, he repeated exclaimed "Can I get wet?! Can I get wet?!"
"Noooo!" responded his mother as she reached out for him, accompanied by the laughter of the nearby crowd.
We were just glad he asked FIRST:)

This temple has significant meaning for our family. Built in the 1920's, Grandfather Sorensen, a master carpenter was called from Salt Lake City to come to Mesa to help with the interior workmanship of the temple.

Mr. Cactus' father, now 92 years old, often recalls coming here as a young boy with his family.
In the days before air conditioning, he remembers the intense summer heat, and how grateful he was when his mother returned to Utah with the children once school started in the fall. Grandfather stayed and worked, adding great detail to the magnificent interior rooms.

Winter is well worth waiting for, where the lush grapefruit, lemon and orange trees are decorated in an abundance of lights.

The palm tree lights reach high into the sky.

Viewing the manger scenes helped us remember the true meaning of Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Children, in their perfection, sense the truth so readily.
As we slowly made our way back to the car at the end of the evening, 2 year old Kayla waved to the temple and sweetly said "Bye, bye Jesus".

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
"Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite."

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
"Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea."

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
"Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king,
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold--
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold."

Said the king to the people everywhere,
"Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light."

(1962 Lyrics by Noel Reyney/ Music by Gloria Shayne)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Temple Grandin

With only a week left in the countdown to Christmas, I'm sure everyone is busy with sewing, cooking, shopping, wrapping presents, and all the other festivities that surround this beautiful holiday.
Sometimes it's important to slow down for a minute and watch a good movie with the family.
Mr. Cactus and I watched a well done DVD last night that was inspiring, and brought us both to tears.

Temple Grandin is a true life story of "an autistic woman who becomes one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry".
The movie covers so much more.
We are shown how Temple's mind interprets life in pictures, rather than in words, and gain a stronger appreciation for the brilliance that often accompanies austism.
There is a wide scale within the disorder, with prevalence estimated in 1/110 births.
If your life has been affected by a child, family member, neighbor or friend with a developmental disorder, I'd highly recommend Temple Grandin, an HBO/TV Film.
Available on
Claire Danes does a brilliant job as Temple, and won numerous awards for her performance.
The highest credit goes to Temple, who in 2010 was listed in Time 100 among the top 100 most influential people in the world in the category Heroes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Felt Shoes

I love seeing all the creative ideas for handmade items at Christmas time.
My only wish is that I had the time to make them all.
But, dreaming is sometimes as much fun as making.
The latest eye catchers for me have been Felt Shoes.

Look at these cute little baby shoes from Pearl Bee.
They provide a free template and tutorial, too!
Wouldn't they make a great baby gift?

Jenny Harris from Allsorts also provides a free pattern with tutorial for these Bitty Elf Clogs.
So cute!
After seeing all the ideas and tutorials on Jenny's site, I have an inkling that working with felt might be my next addiction.

Amy Smart (Diary of A Quilter) took the Elf Clog pattern one step farther and made a pincushion.
Love it!
I make it a point to stay away from stores especially during the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas, but today I am making an exception and you will probably find me standing long lines with felt samples, happily dreaming away.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friends In High Places

It pays to have good friends.
Friends who know what is important, and LEAD you to the good things in life.

Who could ask for more than this?

I've been friends with Cindy Harris (Everyday Insanity) for years and years.
Way before I started quilting. Way before the creation of our blogs.
Even though I moved away, we have stayed in contact.
So when she offered a GIVEAWAY over on her blog Everyday Insanity of course I said Count me in!
I was thrilled to learn I had won.
Look at this haul!
(I have to admit there were two chocolate bars, but only one lasted long enough for me to take this picture.)

Cindy is good at whatever she puts her heart into.
She makes the most beautiful handmade cards.
I am now the recipient of 15 (!) original cards.

Cindy is also a wonderful cook. On her blog she shares the most delicious recipes. I try many of the things she shares, my family always compliments the dish.
Cindy is also a Pampered Chef hostess, and sent me several things from their line of products.
I can hardly wait to try the Chocolate Raspberry Sauce, and the Garlic Rub.

How did she know I need these?
Thank you Cindy!

Good friends inspire us to be better than before we met.
Cindy is that kind of friend.
Make sure to check out Everyday Insanity and see all the wonderful food, and creative ideas coming your way.
And, I plan on going out today and do as Cindy, and Desmond Tutu suggest, and "do a little bit of good where you are."
It may even involve chocolate.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cross Terrain Quilt

I've now finished Cross Terrain

Pattern by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced can be found with a free tutorial over on Moda Bake Shop.

I call this my free quilt because I pulled scraps from my red and pink basket.

The circles make me think of cherry lifesavers.

I love scrappy quilts.

The outer border is scrappy too.
This was a fun quilt to work on, and at some point (after the holiday's) I hope to quilt it myself.