2020 Monthly Color Challenge Quilt - January

January - Finch (Yellow)

Patterns by Jen has this month's block instructions and pattern on her blog

I have this fabulous Tula Pink dots fabric that I want to use as a background, so I bought a quarter yard of some of the month's colors to go with it. My LQS has all quilting cotton on sale and this Kona cotton colors are perfect!

When looking at the pattern, I soon realized that I wanted more color than the dots, so I switched the order of the fabrics. I started happily sewing my strips and when I went to iron them, something did not look right. I forgot the SCANT quarter inch seams. Don't be like Kathy, READ Jen's instructions.

I love how the bugs look in the squares.

There will be prizes from sponsors each quarter! Check out Jen’s blog for more details

Bloggers for this month's challenge:
Patterns by Jen
Kathy's Quilts and More
The Quilted Diary
Bear Paw Stitch and Design
Everyone deserves a Quilt

Sponsors for January through March are:

Quilters Chic - PDF Pattern
3rd Story Workshop: Andrea Jackson - Book: Gemology
Quilters Dream Batting - Dream Fusible 80/20 - 60" x 60"
Andover Fabrics - Fabric Bundle -  Giucy Giuce's DECLASSIFIED
Warm Company - Warm and Natural - Needled Cotton Batting 45" x 60"
Make Modern Magazine - 6 month subscription
Patterns By Jen - Superior Thread S-Fine 30
Patterns By Jen - Tucker Trimmer

Follow me on Instagram at kathy.nester

Introduction can be read at 2020 Monthly Color Challenge

Make sure you post and use these hashtags on IG so we can see your pretty blocks.
#2020monthlycolorchallenge #Januaryyellowfinch


Little Free Library

Little Free Library 

My husband is the most amazing man, he built me a Little Free Library! I have been wanting one for awhile and when he asked me what I wanted for my August birthday, it was a "no brainer."
Deciding on a size and style took me to Pinterest and the web where I discovered the Little Free Library Organization.  I registered and received a charter for my library and we are good to go. My husband went to the local township and they were supportive. We had the underground lines marked in order to avoid future problems.

My son and husband digging the hole for the post in the front yeard.  

The engineer in the family is using his phone to level it.

I've read that one of the biggest problems is vandalism and people emptying them out and reselling the books.  More on that topic here. I've purchased this stamp from Staples to discourage resale. I've seen some brag online about how many books they have taken from the libraries, hoefully, everyone will be courteous and kind.

One of our neighbors offered to take a picture of the two of us together. I am beyond excited!

Bring a book, take a book! Enjoy!

#littlefreelibrary #whitfordvillagelittlefreelibrary 


The Life We Bury

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens. NY: Seventh Street Books, 2014. 317 pages. ***

College student Joe Talbert has waited until the last minute to choose a subject for his writing assignment in his English class. He heads to Hillview Manor with the hope of interviewing someone there to write a biography. Carl Iverson, a convicted murderer, is a resident at Hillview Manor and is dying of cancer. Joe asks to interview a resident, possibly a war hero, and the last thing he expects is  to question the conviction of a rapist and murderer. Joe's college life is complicated with an alcoholic mother, autistic brother, and the need to earn his tuition money. He doesn't have the time to get involved in a murder committed years ago even if Carl promises to be truthful with Joe.

The Life We Bury is a quick read and enjoyable mystery. Joe's mother is a self-indulgent alcoholic who puts her needs ahead of her sons. The main characters are likable and the interaction between Carl and Joe is well thought out and kept the story moving. Somewhat predictable, it held my attention even if I did guess a possible perpetrator and motive early in the book. (there was a little twist to the resolution). I will look for other books by this author.

I recieved this book as the December read for the Book Hive Book Club.

Allen Eskens grew up in Jefferson City, Missouri, before migrating to attend the University of Minnesota. After graduating with a degree in journalism, he went to law school and eventually settled in Minkato, Minnesota, where he started a law practice and raised his family. He hones his creative-writing skills in the MFA program at Minnesota State University and the Loft Literary Center and the Iowa Summer Writer's Festival. He continues to live quietly in the country near mankato, husband to Joely, father to Mikayla, and pet owner to many.

#whimsicalwingsbookclub #thelifewebury #mystery #thebookhivebookclub


The Giver of Stars

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes. Viking, 2019. 390 pages. ****

Alice Wright has an adventurous soul and in an attempt to escape her life in England marries Bennett Van Cleve, a handsome, wealthy bachelor from Kentucky. Alice is unprepared for the hardships of rural Kentucky during the depression. She is intrigued by the horseback riding librarians who deliver library books to the people living outside of town and up in the mountains. Alice feels isolated living with her controlling father-in-law and introverted husband. When more librarians are needed, Alice volunteers much to the wrath of her husband and his father. Independent Margery leads the charge with the Packhorse Librarians and she and Alice become friends. Delivering books this way is not for the faint of heart, but anything is better than staying in the Van Cleve home. When Margery is accused of murder, Alice steps in and runs the program and is determined to prove Margery's innocence.

Moyes has written a compelling story that is indicative of the hardships of the times. The greed of the mine owners and the attitude of the wealthy and landowners is highlighted in this story. Loved the ending even if it is somewhat predictable.

There is some controversy surrounding this novel and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, for more information:




I read both books independently and did not look for points of comparison, I will leave that to the courts. I did enjoy both books and have recommended and loaned them to friends.

Jojo Moyes is the #1 New York Times bstselling author of Still Me, After You, Me Before You, The Peacock Emporium, The Horse Dancer, Paris for One and Other Stories, One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Silver Boy, and The Ship of Brides. She lives with her husband and three children in Essex, England.



31 Day Blog Writing Challenge

Today is Day 16 and I think I last posted on Day 9. Let's see if I can get up to date.

Day 10- Top 5 Books - I blog about books all of the time, so just scroll through my blog for those.

Day 11- Most Impactful Class- that's an easy one. I love Cheryl Lynch's classes and her mini mosaic class opened up a new world to me. After the first class I took one on designing my own mosaic. Wow! Cheryl is a masterful teacher and I loved this class, details at Design a Mosaic.

Day 12 - Favorite Color - aqua, teal, turquoise...most blues. 

Day 13 - Least favorite color - browns

Day 14 - Show us your fabic - not for the faint of heart. I have a sewing room, however, my fabric has spilled into other rooms and areas.

Day 15 - Earliest sewing memory - My Father bought my Mom a 1965 Kenmore sewing machine at Sears. It came with free sewing lessons and my Mom wasn't comfortable taking the class so she sent me. Every Saturday, I would take the class and come home and show my mother what I learned. I made a magenta lined wool suit. Hated it, but my Mother loved sewing. She made Prom dresses, winter coats, skirts, and altered clothing. I didn't get back into sewing until I had a little girl. Halloween costumes and quilts soon followed. My daughter now has my Mom's machine and she and my Granddaughters all sew. The legacy continues.

Day 16 - Why do I sew? - That requires a multi-faceted answer. I sew to create, relax, learn, grow, connect,  and teach. I love learning new techniques and sharing with others. Those are all of the same reasons I blog and review books. It's all part of who I am...whether I am sewing pillowcases with children in the hospital, participating in challenges, sewing quilts for babies or my family, I am sharing a part of me and hopefully making each one feel special.

This is a crazy busy week, (who picked the month of December, anyway?) so I'll see if I can keep up. 


2020 Monthly Color Challenge Quilt

Patterns by Jen has launched the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge today, this years colors are the color of birds. I have been doing this Challenge for the last two years and it is FREE and so much fun! Details on Jen's blog. Sign up to receive the monthly emails. There are over 30 Bloggers signed up this year and I am one of them. I will be blogging every month, but January and February are my designated months. There are vendors involved this year and there will be prizes!!

This year I am going to use a consistent background and Jen has provided Background Cutting Instructions for Black and White backgounds. You may find those here.

Recently I purchased this delicious Tula Pink and wasn't sure what to make with it. I have enough of the black and white spot fabric to use for my background. With the bright colored bugs on it, I can't wait to see how the blocks come together. Maybe I will be inspired to finish my other two challenge quilts:

2019 Color Challenge Quilt

2018 Color Challenge Quilt

Sign up with Jen and join in the fun on the Facebook page "Quilt and Learn with Patterns by Jen.

Monthly Blocks

Use the hashtag #2020monthlycolorchallenge so we can all see your beautiful blocks.



31 Day Blog Writing Challenge 2019 - Day 9

Day 9 - Favorite Tip

Join a Quilt Guild or start one if there isn’t one near you. I belong to two very different guilds. One meets the 2nd Tuesday evening and the other, the 2nd Wednesday morning of the month. Between them there are @265 members. Both Guilds offer nationally known presenters, amazing programs, workshops, sew together days and retreats. This week it is Holiday parties and activities.

We swapped Holiday socks stuffed with all kinds of goodies, played Quilto/Bingo,and ate the most delicious food.

It is the camaraderie, friendship and talent that keeps me going back.

The benefits of joining a Quilt Guild:

  • Learn from and encourage each other.
  • Show and Tell - members bring quilts that have been made recently - one of my favorite activities
  • Quilt Show
  • Explore new techniques
  • Sharing of fabric, rulers, etc. (no pattern copying)
  • Charitable work- we make comfort and QOV quilts, pillowcases for children in the hospital and port pillows. (We donated over 200 preemie quilts to area hospitals as part of our Quilt Guild Challenge)
  • Retreats - I attend two retreats a year and always enjoy it, make new friends, complete projects, and take workshops.
  • Sewing Together Day
The two Guilds that I belong to and love- Brandywine Valley Quilters and Calico Cutters

#31dayblogwritingchallenge2019 #day9 #favoritetip


31 Day Blog Writing Challenge 2019 - Days 7 and 8

Wow! This is much harder than I thought it would be...I am already 4 days behind and have a really busy week coming up.

I will combine posts when I can, less reading for you and maybe I will be able to keep up better.

Prompts 7 and 8 - Dream Project and Skills I Wish I Had.

For years I have wanted a Little Free Library and this year my husband is making one for me as a Birthday present. I wish I had the know how and ability to make it myself. He is an engineer and does amazing work. My part in this project is research and books. An owner of a Little Free Library may apply for a charter and receive a number at Little Free Library. The organization sells plans to make one, bookstamps, tshirts, etc. If having one in your front yard isn't your thing, you can sponsor one in a park, playground, community center, etc.

In doing my research, I was surprised to learn that vandalism is the biggest problem. Some libraries have been damaged and others have had all of the books taken in one swoop and resold. For more on this topic - https://littlefreelibrary.org/re-selling-little-free-library-books/ Is it theft to take something that is free? Greed? Desparate times?

I purchased a self-inking stamp from Staples, "Little Free Library, Not for Resale" to discourage the sale of the books. Stamping the books was a pleasant reminder of my library days. Someone created the sign to put in the window to explain the process and I will do so also. I am considering making up a flyer for my neighbors too. Surprisingly in my township, no permit is required to put it on my front yard.

My plan is to have a launch when the engineer has finally finished it and it is in the yard. Right now, I am collecting books and happily stamping them. I will continue to post about this adventure. Happy Reading!

#littlefreelibrary #dreamproject #skillsIwishIhad #31dayblogwritingchallenge2019


31 Day Blog Writing Challenge 2019;- Days 4 and 5

Day 4 - Favorite Tools

This prompt is an easy one...my cutting mat, rotary cutter, and my ruler. I started quilting in 1986 and these tools were not in use then. Definitely a game changer,

Day 5 - First Project

I made this wall-hanging in a Sampler Class taught by Dot Key. All of the pieces were cut using cardboard templates and scissors. All of the pieces are hand sewn by drawing a line for the quarter inch seam and all of the seams are hand sewn. It is completely hand quilted.

I still enjoy hand quilting, but rarely do it. My hands are not as flexible as they used to be and my stitches aren’t as neat. When I worked as a librarian, I would sew a quilt top and put it in the quilting frame in August. Every day I came home, put dinner in the oven and quilted until dinner was done. By the end of the school year, the quilt would be finished! The process of hand quilting
was a relaxing activity to transition after a day of working with high schoolers.

For more information on the challenge,  http://muppin.com/wordpress/index.php/the-2019-31-day-blog-writing-challenge/



31 Day Blog Writing Challenge 2019 - Day 3

Day 3 - Machine

My everyday sewing machine is this work horse, a Bernina 440 Quilters Edition.
I love this machine and have had it for a few years. The silver faceplate was scratched due to my
pins, scissors, etc. At the last service, Bernina replaced the faceplate with a shiny new one.

I purchased this special edition 350 Cotton + Steel  Bernina as a traveling machine to take to classes, Sew In, and Retreat. She has all of the stitches I need and the feet are interchangeable between the two machines. When I see the beautiful colors and the “ Hello Lovely” message, I can’t help but smile.

I never thought I wanted or needed a serger.  I attended a Cases for Smiles Event and the women seated close to me all had sergers. They were making  2 pillowcases to my 1. I attended the Quilt Show in Oaks, PA and purchased this serger at the show. When I told Fred from Pocono Sewing what I would be using it for he gave me a great deal. What a game changer it is,  I love it! In addition to pillowcases I also serge the inside seams of some zippered pouches, serge the edge of my quilts and walker bags before binding.

I share my machine freely with my quilting friends, it makes me happy to see my machines being used.

My favorite machine is my Granddaughter's, it's a Bernina 215 Simply Red with a zebra skin. We ordered the skin from Germany and she was so excited to receive it.

#31dayblogwritingchallenge #machineday3


31 Day Blog Writing Challenge 2019 - Day 2

Day 2 - Sewing Space

My sewing space is fluid, I have a dedicated sewing room which has spread into areas of the basement. I tend to choose where to sew depending on my mood. If I want to be social, I move up into the dining room, if I want alone time, I sew in my sewing room. Occasionally, friends come to sew and we set up in the dining and living rooms.

My latest project is to make a walker bag for a friend's mother. I found this great pattern called Cheery Saddlebag Helper and it's a bargain at $3.29. I made a few changes and used velcro intsead of snaps. Velcro seems easier for older hands. 

I put one pocket on the back instead of two to decrease the weight.

Serging the edges makes binding lay flat.

I love this coordinating stripe!

Because of its size it can hang in the front or on the side.

I am also making Christmas gifts for friends and family. Zippered pouches are an instant gratification type project. Crafty Gemini has a tutorial on this Zippered Box Pouch.

This is my go to pouch, fast fun, and easy! It is available in three sizes at Noodlehead Open Wide Zippered Pouch. This one is the medium size. 



2019 Monthly Color Challenge - December

December - Crocus (purple)

This moth's block is super easy to make, check it out on Jen's Blog.

Surprisingly, I do not have a lot of purple in my stash and I used what I did have in September's Lilac block.

Then I discovered the black fabric with the purple polka dots, I love it! There isn't much of it left and I'll have to be creative in order to make it work. I chose the lighest fabric to compliment it.

The blocks are complete, the setting is next! My goal is to complete this quilt before the 2020 Color Challenge begins. Don't forget to sign up to join us!

Visit the blogger's for this month's block!

Patterns By Jen
the Geeky Bobbin
Two Maker Chicks
Everyone Deserves a Quilt
The Quilted Diary

Don't forget to sign up for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge!

Finished quilts will be posted January 1, 2020 on these pages!

Patterns By Jen
Everyone Deserves a Quilt
Kathy's Kwilts and more
Two Maker Chicks
The Quilted Diary

#2019monthlychallengeblock #decemberblock