2019 Monthly Color Challenge - January

January Color Challenge - Bells of Ireland - Green

This is the 2nd year that I have participated in a Monthly Color Challenge coordinated by Patterns by Jen. It was fun and easy to make one block each month. My 2018 Color Challenge Blocks may be viewed here: http://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogspot.com/2018/01/monthly-color-challenge-quilt.html

Some important information about the 2019 challenge:
  • You must go to Jen's blog each month to download the block. It is available free on the first day of the month until the last day of the month. 
  • Jen's blocks are easy to construct and she provides helpful hints along the way. 
  • This year's colors are taken from flowers, if you visit Jen's page you will see all of the flowers and colors for the year, however, you will have to wait each month for the block. 
  • Remember to use a "scant 1/4" seam.
  • Layout suggestions will be provided at the end of the Challenge.
I will be blogging each month about my blocks and sharing on social media.

I decided to make life easier and buy fat quarted bundles of fabric rather than choosing monthly. These were on sale at my LQS and I love the vibrant colors. 

In order to achieve, a scant quarter inch seam, I move my needle one place to the right.

Some of my favorite tools

I use Best Press in a spray bottle, a 6" square ruler and my aqua rotary cutter. The ruler makes it easy to square up sections of the quilt block.

I like to pin when assembling the sections of the block. Jen provides hints along the way: pressing arrows, and unit measurements. (remember to trim as you go and press in the right direction) 

My January block - green

#2019monthlycolorchallenge #januarybellsofirelandgreen #2019monthlycolorchallengegreen


Classic to Contemporary String Quilts

Classic to Contemporary String Quilts: Techniques, Inspiration, and 16 Projects for Strip Quilting by Mary M. Hogan.  Mount Joy: Laundauer, 2019. 65 pages.  paperback *****

String quilts are made from strips of fabric that are usually leftovers from other projects and would in other circumstances be thrown away. Quilters are frugal and attempt to use every bit of fabric when they can. Hogan has provided an easy to follow book with instructions, clear graphics and pictures, to create beautiful string quilts. I have seen some unusual quilts made from strings; however, Hogan's quilts are gorgeous! Hogan has taken traditional blocks and recreated them with a contemporary flair!
Hogan covers the essential tools, foundation and background blocks, and the basics. A perfect gift for a beginner quilter and for someone who has a huge collection of scraps.

Mary Hogan, a self-taught sewer, began her sewing career making clothes for dolls. Now retired from her day job, Mary devotes nearly all her time to quilting, designing and teaching.

I received an ecopy for a review.

#ClassicToContemporaryStringQuilts #stringquilts


Just After Midnight

Just After Midnight by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Seattle: Union Lake Publishing, 2018. 374 pages. ****

Faith serves her husband with divorce papers and escapes his reaction by going to her father and stepmother's beach house. She wakes during the night to see a young girl sitting in a lotus position on the sand in front of her house wearing a tank top in the chilly fog. Sarah, fourteen years old, recently lost her mother and is currently living with her Grandmother at the beach. Sarah feels lost since her world has been turned upside down and her father has sold her horse to pay his gambling debts. Faith has walked away from her marriage without a plan, just the need to survive and find the person she once was before marrying Richard. An unlikely friendship is formed between the two women based on the need for friendship and self-preservation. 

Hyde has a writing style that is easy to follow and allows the reader to escape into a world where the good guys prevail. While some may feel that allowing Sarah to go away with Faith, a stranger, may seem unrealistic, I'd like to think that we haven't totally become a cynical, suspicious people. Hyde suggests that we follow our intuition when it comes to others; Faith had a legitimate reason to be wary of the man in the supermarket who turns out to be her next-door neighbor. 

I have read and reviewed several of Hyde's books and have always enjoyed them. They are somewhat formulaic in their plot and in their message of "hope." Hyde's love of animals shines through her books and in this particular one; Sarah's horse Midnight is key to the story. While reading this book, I was reminded of Allie and Bea, that same feeling of friendship, trust, and there are good people in the world. My favorite of hers is Heaven Adjacent; it was so relatable for me. When you are looking for a feel good book that you know will end well, Hyde is the author for you. 

I received an ecopy to review.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored by the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton. Visit her at www.catherineryanhyde.com.


Opportunity - One Word 2019

I have struggled the last few days in choosing a "word" for 2019.  I chose "Clarity" for 2018 and I felt like it backfired on me. In the past year, I have had a detached retina and a Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion in my right eye. At the present time I have a cataract in that eye which will be corrected on January 21st. So, it has been a struggle to apply "Clarity" to my life in 2018.

I had finally decided on NO Word for 2019 when I saw this cartoon by Linier on Facebok and it is perfect! I look forward to new opportunities, adventures, friends, and travels.

2019 Opportunity
2018 Clarity
2017 Balance
2016 Promise
2015 Abundance
2014 Believe
2013 Simplify

I am participating in a few challenges (opportunities ) for 2019:


UFO Challenge 2019

UFO Challenge 2019

My Quilt Guild, Calico Cutters, has issued a challenge to all members.

The rules are as follows:

  • Before January 1st make a list of 12 projects you want to finish before the end of 2019.
  • Every month, the Guild organizer will announce a randomly generated number bewteen 1 and 12.
  • Check the list you made in December. The number generated tells you what project you should work on each month.
  • Share your works in progress or finished project at the next Guild meeting or on social media.
  • If you are swamped one month, skip it and move on. Can't motivate to work on the project or your list? Choose another. 
My 12 projects:
  1. Flamingo Quilt
  2. Gnome Quilt
  3. Baby Quilt
  4. One Block Wonder
  5. Bootacular
  6. Splendid Sampler
  7. Solstice Quilt
  8. Rail Fence Star Quilt
  9. Charity Quilt
  10. Bargello Quilt
  11. 2018 Monthly Color Challenge Quilt
  12. Organize Sewing Room
Instead of a 12th UFO, I added organizing my sewing room because this project will force me to do it at least once in the next 12 months. I decided to bag and number the projects. Clearing off the pool table was more challenging than I imagined...and I really only moved everything to my sewing table for the present time. Tomorrow is another day!

I am also partcipating in the 2019 Monthly Color Challenge and will be posting my blocks each month in addition to the UFO.

Another Goal for this year is to learn a new technique in quilting...I will be keeping my mind open to new opportunities!

The numbers chosen:

January - #7 - Pat Sloan's Solstice Quilt

#2019UFOchallenge #Calicoufo2019


Folded Christmas Tree

There are plenty of Folded Christmas Trees on Pinterest and Pat Sloan's Facebook Group has been flooded with them. I really liked them and decided, how hard could it be to make one?

I read Pat's instructions about 4 times and I must be dumber than dirt. You can find the instructions here...Kay’s Fabric Trees at Pat Sloan’s website.

I was not clear on how to attach the tree sections.

Elmer's Glue is very helpful in holding things in place.

My zipper foot kept my lines straight.

It's coming together!

A Star and ribbon for a hanger and voila! 

#foldedchristmastree #hangingfabricchristmastree 


Retreat by the Sea

I have the opportunity once a year to attend a Quilt Retreat at a hotel on the beach. It is off season so the weather can be iffy, but the rewards are great. We arrive on Tuesday and return home on Sunday. There are @100 quilters in the Grand Ballroom and the views are spectacular.



We each have our own table and set up a workstation... Many different types of sewing machines, projects, and quilting tools.

Do you think we brought enough stuff?

Sew when you want to...sleep when you want to...eat when you want to...NO rules, no quilt police!


We bring some food with us and usually eat dinner at local restaurants.

This is the amazing view from my room on the 6th floor.

Everyone brings their own projects to work on...
I decided to use this bright colored jelly roll to create a Bargello quilt. Using Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Bargello pattern, I had fun making this quilt. Borders will be added later this week.


I have made a few pencil cases, however, this one by Lorelei Jayne is the easiest and nicest one I have found. It is a free pattern and available here.

Each retreat we are given a craft to complete (totally optional) and this year our kit included enough supplies and instructions to make two coasters. Very easy and very cute!

It's a great opportunity to rewind, refresh, and rediscover the joy of sewing and reconnecting with friends.

Til next time...

#quiltretreat #quiltretreatsarethebest #sewingbythesea