First Snowfall

It's a chilly morning here, my friends. We've had our first dusting of snow for the season...or maybe it's the second. The days become a blur sometimes. In any case, it snowed overnight, and snow is falling now.

The star magnolia is already putting out next year's buds, and I suppose it is used to our weather after more than 20 years growing in the same place.

It's a confusing morning for Smitty. First, there's the snow. A cat has to stay right next to the house to avoid sitting in this cold, wet, white stuff.

And where is Sadie? Well...she's gone to the dentist this morning. It was a terrible morning for all concerned since we picked up their food and water last night, and no morning treats were dispensed when we got up. In kitty speak: WTF? (In case you're wondering, that stands for "Where's the food?")

Okay, but let's just back up to yesterday, shall we? It was a nice morning, and it stayed nice well into the afternoon. As I've mentioned, we're trying to get more movement in our days, and so I jumped at the opportunity to get out for a walk early. We were expecting rain by afternoon, and this sunny morning came as a delightful surprise. As I was leaving, I turned to snap this picture of the Three Cats Ranch.

There were a few things that caught my eye as I was walking away. First, the water droplets on things were enchanting as they glinted in the sunshine.

Also the sun shining through the few remaining leaves caught my eye.

From our front door to the paved public road, I'd estimate our gravel driveway to be about a quarter mile long. It's half downhill, and then half uphill to the public road. When I reached the road, the pavement appeared wet, but nothing more. After just a few steps, I slipped and fell...black ice. I'll admit to uttering a four-letter word here, but I wasn't hurt. And, honestly, I wanted to go walking up to the top of our hill. I tested the pavement for a few steps more, then tried walking along the gravel shoulder. In the image below, you can see what I saw...frosty tips on all the leafy weeds. 

It was clearly too treacherous to continue. And I do NOT want to break another bone. As Trevor Noah says, "Ain't nobody got time for that." Okay, so my walk was short. Coupled with yesterday's effort at dusting and vacuuming the downstairs, I probably got enough movement to satisfy whatever gods of health happen to be paying attention. 

It was after lunch time when I made my way into the sewing room. I was determined to finish top-stitching at least the first of the two Whimsical Garden quilt blocks.

My friend Angei left this question on yesterday's post:

I’m not much of an appliqué or embroidery person but I have a question..would it not save time and energy . . . to prepare all the blocks with sashing as you did with first one and then they would be ready for you to transfer the design to as you come to that block?

Angei, you are no-reply, and so I can't respond directly. I'm hoping you'll see the answer here today. It's a good question, and so I thought some of you might also be wondering and interested in the answer. Allow me to explain.

First, I couldn't make the first block without first adding the sashings. The tail of the bird extended out into the right side of the block and over the sashing. (Some of the applique for this quilt actually extends into the adjacent block.) As you can see in the image below, I wouldn't be able to complete any part of the bird without first adding the tail, and so I went ahead and sewed the sashings to the background before fusing any of the applique.

Here's the trade-off doing it that way. The stems of the flowers for this block come right to the edge of the background. In retrospect, I might have done this part of the block first, and then added the sashings before adding the bird. That's not what I did, however, and so the stems of the flowers butt right up against the green sashing. It meant top-stitching around the bottom. The top-stitching isn't a problem as long as the stem is exactly in the right spot so that there is no gap between the sashing and the applique.

The preferred way is to fuse the applique first, then trim the background to size, then add the sashing. You can see below that in the second block, the flower pot is caught in the seam when the sashing is added, giving a nice clean look with no gaps.

Contrast that with the second flower stem on the first block, where there is a tiny gap between the two.

After top-stitching, it mostly doesn't matter, but you can see the thread could only cover so much, and there is a tiny gap between the two. 

I hope that all makes sense. My preferred way is to build the applique over the background, then trim the block, and then add the sashings. It really comes down to personal preference, but to my eye, this way gives a cleaner look.

Except for top-stitching the yellow petals in Block #2, both blocks are complete now, and I'll be moving on to my challenge piece while also quilting the Trashy Triangles quilt.

Taking Sadie to the vet and having snow on the ground wasn't the only weird thing about this morning. We learned that Mike's sister Meredith passed away in her sleep yesterday afternoon. She'd had a several-years-long battle with leukemia. Her daughter called to notify us this morning. Here's a picture I took of the two of them together when we visited the Oceanside Pier in California last year.

Her birthday was just last week, and so they had a chance to talk. He sent her some flowers, and it seemed a fitting last interaction for them. It leaves Mike and me (both youngests) as the last living members of our families of origin. When you're in the autumn years of your own life, being the upper-most leaf on the family tree feels a little precarious. We'll need some time to absorb her loss, but we're both doing fine.

There's nothing on today's agenda except to sew, and that's where I'm headed soon. I haven't yet done my morning slow-stitching, so I'll start there.


Barbara said...

I think it's crucial that we remember the lives of people, not their deaths. Our deaths are not our lives. ~ Ross Gay

Terri said...

Sorry for your loss!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Pretty Pictures! I am so sorry for the loss of your husband's sister. Losing a child, sister, Mother Father are all difficult. Clay and I are the lone survivors from our families and that includes all children. Hugs

MissPat said...

My condolences to you and Mike on his sister's death. Sudden passings leave their own unique imprint. And how lucky you were to not be injured when you fell. I hope Sadie makes a quick recovery from her dental work.

Auntiepatch said...

I lost my twin sister last May and I still reach for the telephone when I see something she would like to know about. Please give Mike a hug from me.

Susan said...

My deepest sympathy to you both on the death of Mike's sister. Glad you didn't break anything when you fell.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am sorry to hear of Mike’s sister’s passing. Even when someone has been dealing with health issues, it is still a shock to the family when they pass on. I offer my condolences to you both. So glad Mike had a chance to talk with her so recently!
Poor Sadie! Hope her dental appointment went well….
I love your pictures of the snowfall! We don’t typically get any snow in our part of Virginia until we are into January. We have had a snowfall as early as mid November, but that is a rarity.
I am so glad to hear that you didn’t have injuries from your fall! That black ice can be treacherous!
We are having somewhat nice weather, but it looks like we are in for a bit of rain over the next ten days. We probably need some rain, and I definitely need some dedicated sewing time, so that works for me!
Sandra B
scb23229@yahoo.com (new email for me)

Nancy said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Mike’s sister. Even when family has had health issues it is never easy fo lose them.

Now - take it easy out there on your walks. No more broken bones!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your loss. May warm, happy memories bring comfort to you both.
Glad you were not hurt when you fell. Scary to think it happened again.
Hope Sadie recovers quickly from the dental visit. And that she doesn't give you the cold shoulder - cats and humans in your house both need cuddles right now.

Teresa F.

Quilting Babcia said...

So sorry to hear of Mike's sister's passing. We feel fortunate that we still have all our siblings with us, though two are now in their 80s and both have health issues. I'm loving the Whimsical Garden blocks, they're so spunky and fun! And there's another word Google doesn't have in its dictionary - spunky. It wanted me to write 'sunny. Hope Sadie is in a better mood now.

Tilly said...

Sorry for your loss,but you still have the memories.
Do not break any bones be carefull.
(love your blocks) Hope Sadie is fine after her dentist appointment.
greetings Tilly

piecefulwendy said...

I'm so glad you didn't injure yourself in that fall. The photo with the frost tipped leaves is so pretty, makes me want to pull fabric in those colors for a quilt. I'm sure the two of you need some time to ponder and process the passing of Mike's sister; losing a sibling has an impact for sure. It's a sobering thought being the last of the family, isn't it? It's just my brother and I left, and I can't think on that too much. So thinking of you both and sending along my sympathy and condolences.

Barb Hayes said...

So sorry to hear about the loss of Mike’s sister. Prayers to you and him at this sad time.

NancyA said...

So sorry for the lose of Mike’s sister. Your comment about being the upper-most leaf on the tree made me stop and ponder. Not me, but it is true for hubby. Sobering thought indeed.

Kate said...

So sorry to hear about Mike's sister's passing. Getting older seems to come with a lot more loss (in several areas). Hope both of you are doing well and can celebrate her life with the rest of the family at some point.

CA Bobbie said...

So sad for your families loss. Be well and thankful for your times together. I've recently lost a brother and it's hard no matter what. Cuddles from virtual friends helps I'm sure.
So glad the fll took only the four letter word from you. I too was inspired by the frosty leaves. I'm a Chesapeake Bay gal and do miss the early frosty winter days- but not the rest of that season.
Poor Sadie, I have to say the prep is worse than the actual visit. hugs to all at the ranch.

Karen said...

Sorry for your loss Mike. Hugs to you both.
So glad you didn't hurt yourself.. That you know of. Wait until tomorrow (hope not though).
Nice weather to quilt( snow and all). We've had 10" of snow . So melted away now. More is coming.
Hugs to you miss Sadie.

Shepherdess55 said...

My sympathy to you and Mike following the death of his sister. Just from the years I've been reading your blog, I know you have treasured memories of the times you were able to be together.

My sympathy to Sadie for her dental appointment. A lost filling needed a crown. The preparatory work was done two days ago. A day later the temporary crown/cap fell out. So back to the dentist today as well as two weeks from now.

Karen said...

May you only have good memories. Condolences to you and Mike.

Soapstone Quilts said...

My sincere condolences to you and your husband.

QuiltGranma said...

This last summer hubby borrowed my walking cane so he could safely walk on a beach, using his cane in the other hand. Older sis and her hubby have been walking and he uses walking sticks. I just got a pair for hubby for Christmas. They help stabilize one and I suggest a pair for yourself. I just might get a pair for myself. Love your photos, the beautiful array of leaves with frost on the edges... just WOW. So sorry for your loss. Hubby has lost most of his siblings, cherish the memories and be happy that they chatted recently.