Summer, projects and updates

Sometimes finding a title for a blog post takes longer than writing the thing. Well, not really, but it’s a roadblock for sure. I have been all over the place with life lately and not as focused on the quilting world as I’d like to be. So here’s a little update on what’s happening in my world this summer.

We’ve been enjoying a lot of time at home and taking short trips here and there. We’ll be going to Austin next weekend to celebrate our granddaughter’s 6th birthday. We’ll be watching her t-ball games and babysitting one night while mom and dad get some alone time. Aside from the Texas heat, we’re exciting for the visit!

I’ve also been spending time at my parent’s house helping my mom recover from a hemorrhagic stroke. She’s now at home with my Dad, and my siblings and I are tag teaming with home-care. They live 2 1/2 hours from me and they don’t have internet, so I’m limited with any work I can accomplish while there. I’m in that stage of life where my parents are aging and they can often require much more personal care. It’s a mixed blessing and I’m happy that they’re still here to see their 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren grow and flourish.

Our vegetable garden is in full swing and I’m harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and greens. I love the summer produce! Farmer’s markets are a Saturday ritual so we can get all of the fresh fruit while it’s in season. I made triple berry jam last week and I’ll be cooking up some apricot cobbler this weekend. I’m eating lots of fresh salads and cooked veggies to balance things out!

Our backyard is also playing hosts to some beautiful monarch butterflies and their caterpillars. I planted milkweed several years ago and it’s been paying off finally. We rescued one chrysalis from a poorly positioned spot and brought it inside. It was so fun to watch it morph and finally emerge into a gorgeous monarch.

Currently we have a caterpillar that we brought indoors to rescue it from some suspicious wasps. It has now become a chrysalis and we’ll wait for it to emerge in another week or so.

In Austin, Texas, our granddaughters found some big caterpillars in their backyard which turned out to be black swallowtails. They also constructed a butterfly house and brought the caterpillars inside to watch them change into their chrysalis and then butterfly form. What a beautiful lesson to witness in your own backyard!

Now for some quilting. I finished two more blocks for the Red at Night 2 BOM that I’m co-teaching at The Granary. Both of these blocks contain a “corner beam” unit that requires templates to make. I found a different way to make them (which I’ll share in a future blog post) that eliminated the templates and allowed me to oversize them and trim to the perfect size without using a specialty ruler.

I don’t have a design wall, so I taped the nine blocks (so far) onto my bedroom wall to see how they look together. I’m using a fat quarter bundle of Kismet by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics. I love these colors together and the dark background is fun (but challenging). The blocks will eventually be set on-point and there will be 13 of them.

My co-teacher, Dianne Sheppard, is working with a southwestern color palette and I love how hers are looking together. It’s so fun to see the same quilt made in different colors.

I’m also working on a quilt that will be part of a book hop at Meadow Mist Designs. Cheryl has just released her second book titled Just One Charm Pack Quilts, and I absolutely love it! I am a charm pack junkie and I was so glad to be asked to join the book hop. You can find links to all of the blog hop participants here. My turn will be July 27, but I can show you a little sneak peak for now.

As a quilter and the month turns to July, I always think of Christmas in July. This year has thrown me a few curve balls so I haven’t been able to come up with a new project. However, I am going to re-work a quilt block that I used in my free Nordic Mini Wall Hanging Quilt Along into a larger quilt block that can be used to make a quilt or table runner, etc. I call it the Nordic Star block and it will finish at 12″. Hopefully I can get this to you by the end of the month, but we’ll see how it goes.

I hope your summer is going well, and I appreciate you spending some time to read my latest update. Have a great weekend and happy quilting!

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  1. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family. It is hard caring for aging parents, but so worth it. Blessings for all of you.

  2. Loved all the butterfly transformations! How fun to be able to watch the changes! I have never been lucky enough to find a chrysalis nor to find a caterpillar that would change into something so beautiful!! West coast of BC is full of interesting insects – just not a lot of pretty butterflies! Enjoy your summer!

  3. Well, you have your plate full – personal issues, personal fun, quilting fun and a garden full of delights. Glad that you will still get to TX and look forward to seeing your corner beam technique!

  4. Julie, thanks for including me in your blog about the blocks we’re putting together for our BOM class. It is fun to see all the fabric choices and how each quilt comes together in the end. It’s great teaching with you! Dianne

  5. Julie,
    Best wishes to you and your family through this difficult time. Your generosity in sharing your creative spirit has often given me reason to smile Thank you, too, for the wonderful monarch photos. I’d never seen one of their chrysalis before. The monarch migration to Mexico is one of the true wonders of this world.
    Thanks for everything you share in your posts!

  6. Hi Julie, have you ever tried a cheap Walmart plastic table cloth for a design wall? they have a fuzzy back and fabric sticks perfectly. I have mine held up by pushpins. Have a lovely day. Debi

  7. Julie,

    I am so sorry to hear that your mother suffered a stroke. I do hope she is doing much better now. I am also at that stage of life with my parents. My mother suffers from dementia and it is sad to see her struggle with this disease. I just spent a week with them and even though it is not always easy, I cherish all the time I spend with them.

    Your garden looks fantastic! I consider myself to be the black thumb in my family of gardeners! However, I am really going to try my hand at it. My husband just built a planter box on legs (we suffer from bunnies galore) and if this goes well, I might request another planter box! Stay cool and enjoy your visit in Texas.

  8. I loved your butterfly story, very interesting. Your grandchildren are adorable. Like you I sure enjoy mine Thomas who turned 17 yesterday and Marina who is 10. I only have tomatoes in my vegetable garden they are just starting to turn red we are a little cooler in Canada. Sure enjoy my flower beds with the butterflies flying through it. Looking forward to the Nordic Star pattern

  9. So sorry to hear about your mother but pleased she is home now. Being at this stage in life with ageing parents is challenging but it sounds like you and your sisters have got it under control. Enjoy your time with the grandchildren, they are such a blessing.

  10. I love the shot of Cooper over looking the garden. My dog has figured out which pot has the ripening tomatoes, and she “checks” it daily. Yes she likes ‘matoes. “Corner Beams”?? If I’m looking at the right part of the block, I’m thinking Tri-Recs ??? Have a safe & fun trip to TX to see the “kids”

  11. Hi, Julie, sorry to hear about your Mum, she must be so grateful to have such a supportive family behind her. Your grandchildren are adorable, as always. We all need as much family time as we can get, after the last year and a half. Your designs are lovely, will be doing the Norwich star and have finally started the summer wallhanging! Best wishes, Loraine.x

  12. So much fun to observe and enjoy nature!

    I love everything about your dark version for the BOM…the blocks and the colors! 🙂

  13. Thank you so much for sharing the Butterfly story, I have never seen a butterfly cocoon before, much less watching the beautiful butterfly emerge !!
    What amazing memories you are creating for your grandchildren!♥️♥️♥️

  14. I mimic all of you loves. Family is so important as the grand and great grands grow up so quickly. Sorry to hear about your mom. I am an avid gardener and I belong to Master Gardeners in Niagara, Ontario, . You are a very busy person and that is a good thing.

  15. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Julie. Enjoy happy times while in Austin. G’kids are so precious. My nine have grown up too quickly. The oldest turned 21 this year and the youngest will be 11 in September. Yikes, where as the time gone? Love your quilting blocks! The Nordic QAL looks enticing . Take care ❤️❤️

  16. Can’t you use your phone as a hot spot? I can with my iPhone. I can do anything on my phone or laptop just like at home. You do need unlimited minutes on phone.
    Hope all is well. There is a chance I will be attending PIQF which I know is in your area.

  17. Loved the butterflies. They are so beautiful, and they cheer you up just to look at them. So nice your granddaughters have them also.

  18. I love your updates and agree naming a blog post can be much more than chatting about your topics… I look forward to the 12” Nordic star block pattern:). Have a wonderful weekend!

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