Coloring never gets old, from our first crayon masterpieces, to scribbling in the margins of notes, there is something soothing and satisfying about coloring between–and sometimes outside of–the lines.
Today marks our favorite quilting couple’s 40th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate this amazing milestone, we wanted to put together a list of the 40 things that the Doan family loves about their parents/grandparents. Only problem is, there are waaaaaaay more than 40 memories, life lessons and stories to share about this wonderful couple, and even with a little editing here and there, the list doubled to 80! Each and every one of these memories speak to their remarkable character and the light that they shine on the world around them.
Without further ado, here are the Top 80 Things To Love about Jenny and Ron from all seven of their children, children’s spouses and 21 of their 22 grandchildren (baby Porter doesn’t speak just yet, so he gets a pass this year!)
First up is Darrel, Jenny and Ron’s oldest son and his wife Stephanie and their two boys, Erik and Sean:
1. We love your passion for tradition, especially Swedish history, from Dola horses to Tomtes to Swedish pancakes…we love it all almost as much as we love you!
2. We love our sports car racing! Thank you for introducing such a fun sport at an early age. This lives on in our house as there isn’t an IndyCar, Formula 1, or IMSA race that we miss.
3. I love Grandma Jenny & Grandpa Ron because you always think of me every holiday” – Love Erik (and we mean EVERY holiday! 4. “You both remind me of Christmas, presents, and fun cards” – Love Sean
Next is Natalie.. She’s Jenny and Ron’s oldest daughter, and mother to Sam, Noah, Isaac, Hannah, and Jenna.
5. I love that my mom is joyful, she loves positivity, adventure and looks for the good in all situations.
6. My mom loves her family and has a strong testimony that she shares in everything that she does, and she is one of the hardest working women that I know.
7. I love that my dad is so patient and he loves us so much.
8. My dad is constantly serving others, and never wants any accolades for all that he does. He loves unconditionally and teaches by his example how we can be more Christlike.
Sam, Natalie’s oldest son, writes:
9. Grandma is thoughtful and kind to everyone she meets.
10. Grandpa really cares about other people. He puts the needs of others above his own, is always helping anyone who needs it, and is very smart and can figure out anything.
Next up is Noah, who writes:
11. I love that Grandma loves all her grandchildren so much, and I love how grandpa is always willing to help someone in need.
Then we have Isaac, who explains:
12. I love that they were so welcoming and kind to my wife, Aislinn and made her feel like family. I know that sounds generic, but it was so special for us.
Followed by Hannah, who notes:
13. Grandma is always happy. She’s always singing or whistling or doing something she loves. One of my favorite memories of Grandma is one time we were at a concert and I was in a large bathroom. I had waited in a long line with strangers. Grandma came in whistling and I instantly knew it was her. I was in a stall, and had no idea who it was, but I knew it was her. I said, “Grandma”? and she answered, “who knows me by my whistle”? It was sooo funny!
14. My favorite thing about Grandpa is how much he loves cars, and bikes. I love how much he loves working, doing things with his hands, and helping others. One of my favorite memories of him is the time he taught me how to ride the dirt bikes. He was teaching me, and I kept falling off but he still made it fun. He was patient and kind, and I had fun learning to ride from him.
And, last up from Natalie’s family is Jenna, who writes:
15. I love how much they always want to help others and give, how they set a good example to all of us grandchildren and how they treat everyone with compassion.
After Natalie comes Sarah, who is married to Seth. They are parents to Annie, Katie, Jared, Ella, and Jason.
16. My best memories are not only of the adventures we had but the feelings that go along with them. I can come up with tons of stories and things we all did together, but what sticks out the most to me, is the way I felt. Growing up, we felt loved. We knew we were safe. We didn’t have money for fancy things, but we felt good about what we did have. We felt good about working hard for what we wanted; earning things together for a big reward. We felt inspired to be better and do better. We felt sadness and talked about our feelings and dealt with emotions. We felt pride and we felt joy when we would dress up and go overboard for community festivals, decorating floats to be in a parade. We felt valued when our parents listened to our ideas and cared about our feelings. We felt cared about. Every day, Dad would get up and work long hours to support us, and we knew that he did it because he loved us. We felt smart. Mom taught us and gave us so many opportunities to learn and grow and was the real life Mrs. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. We were so blessed to grow up together in a house full of fun, laughter, and love.
17. Having a chilly good time with Ron crawling under the house at the Gould Farm roadhouse to fix frozen pipes and changing the transmission in their old Geo in the freezing cold.
18. Ron taught me how to ride a motorcycle and we continue to build and ride motorcycles together through the years.
19. Jenny singing loud (for all to hear!) and whistling. (She’s very musically-inclined you know!)
20. Jenny making apple pie filling, cherry jam, and peeling lots and lots of wallpaper (not at the same time, of course!)
Annie, the eldest of Sarah and Seth’s children, remembers:
21. Sleepovers at Grandma and Grandpa’s and sleeping on their floor to be close to them.
22. Going on movie dates together.
23. Always getting cards for birthdays and different things and feeling so much love through little random gifts that are always super personal.
24. Sewing with Grandma: helping her pick out fabric from her giant fabric closet, ironing for her, and looking through her giant button jar.
25. Hanging out with Grandpa as he worked outside on different things and the one time we were in the car together and that “I knew you were trouble” Taylor Swift song came on and Grandpa did the goat scream like the meme that was popular then and it was so unexpected and so so funny!
26. I remember driving to Florida to go on my first teaching adventure with them and going to Medieval Times and getting to Florida and driving back with Grandpa and just talking and laughing together.
Jared, Sarah and Seth’s eldest son, reflects on his favorite memories with his grandparents:
27. Watching the Kansas City Chiefs football games, riding motorcycles, going camping, and making homemade ice cream.
Katie, Sarah and Seth’s second eldest daughter, remembers:
28. I remember dancing and singing with Grandma and baking cookies, oatmeal cake, and making ice cream with Grandpa!
29. I remember when Grandma and Grandpa took me and Hannah to Arkansas, and I’m pretty sure I annoyed the heck out of them. 😂
30. I remember Grandma teaching me how to sew buttons and how to cut fabric. She taught me how to bind a quilt and how to properly sew on a machine and by hand.
31. I remember sanding and painting the blue desk for my room with Grandpa in the garage of the Main Shop.
Ella, next in line in Sarah and Seth’s household, writes that she:
32. Loves their hugs.
33. Remembers making her first quilt with Grandma (the elephant one!)
35. Loves going to Kansas City Chiefs games, riding motorcycles, surprise visits, and enjoying eclairs with his grandpa.
36. Enjoys his grandma’s Christmas Eve parties, singing songs, and camping in her glamper.
Hillary is Jenny and Ron’s youngest daughter. She’s married to Alex, and together they have five children: Allyson, Livvy, Alayna, Phoebe, and Jack.
37. I love that adventure is in their blood and they’ve shared that love of discovery and freedom and fearlessness with us as much as they could.
38. I love that they still are willing to help me with the things I never could figure out like cars and fear of failure.
39. I loved growing up in a place where love was the standard and arguments disappeared with a song and laughter.
40. I loved coming down the stairs for church as a teenager and Dad telling me I looked beautiful. He lifted my whole heart every time.
41. I like how comfortable I feel in their home and how they spend quality time with us every chance they get.
Allyson, Hillary and Alex’s eldest daughter, writes:
42. They’re so funny! They always goof off together and are one of the best examples of “best friends for life” that I’ve ever seen. They are so loving to others. They really know how to take care of other people.
43. Both of them can do ANYTHING! When they put their minds to it, they accomplish the impossible (we’ve all seen the proof).
Livvy, Hillary and Alex’s second-oldest daughter, explains:
44. I like eating Grandpa’s pancakes on Grandma’s cat plates.
45. I like that they take care of stray cats and that they have a ton of quilts!
Alayna, next in line in Hillary and Alex’s family, writes:
46. I love that Grandma and Grandpa can keep me smiling all the time when I’m near them and how kind and caring they are.
47. I love that Grandma and Grandpa are so giving, and how they walk around the house singing. It makes me happy
Phoebe, the youngest daughter of Hillary and Alex, writes:
48. I like that they have cute things in their house. They make me happy.
49. I like that Grandma sings and whistles around the house, and how they can find places to hang so many quilts!
Jack, the baby of Hillary and Alex’s family, explains:
50. I like that I get to talk to Grandma and Grandpa about my Pokemon (and they actually listen!).
51. I like Grandma and Grandpa’s gifts, and that Grandpa gave me the coolest pinewood derby car.
Al is up next, and is the eldest of Jenny and Ron’s younger sons. He is married to Drea, and they are parents to the youngest grandchild at the moment, Porter, and they also have a pair of twins on the way! Al reflects:
52. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of Mom reading mystery novels to us kids while we lay on the couch and floor around her. She was the queen of cliffhangers, but often she’d get as into the story as much we would be, and she would sit and read to us for hours. I loved that.
53. I loved how on long drives, we’d listen to books on tape. Dad didn’t love to read books as much, but he definitely loved a good story and on those drives, we all got to bask in great storytelling and how exciting it would be.
54. I remember Mom taking us to people’s houses who I didn’t know, but we’d eventually become their friends. We would volunteer at the library, help at the food pantry, and deliver bread to those in need. She made service fun and a big part of who we were, and who we are today.
55. Dad was amazing ‘cause he’d jump right into our antics. We’d be playing basketball when he made it home from work at 6 p.m. (after starting work at 4 a.m.), and he’d pull in the drive and just come right out and start playing with us. I didn’t realize how amazing that was until becoming a father myself, and now I understand the desire to just sit down after that long day and he never would. He’d come home to be the judge in our kangaroo court, join a water fight, or help remodel the bathroom.
56. I also remember begging Dad to wake us up before he’d leave for work (at 4 a.m.) so we could say goodbye and give him a kiss, and sometimes he would, and we loved it. Other times, he said he felt too bad and just had to let us sleep.
57. I remember saving for weeks to buy a baseball card kit from those book sale flyers they send home from school, and I didn’t have enough and Dad woke me up before he left for work the morning it was due and gave me the $14 I needed for it, and just how amazing that was to me. I used the money for show and tell, I don’t know that I’d ever held a $10 bill at that point and I was so thrilled.
Following Al is Jake, who is married to Misty, and together they have three children: Gideon, Ashelyn, and Ezra.
58. Their work ethic, kindness, compassion, and dedication to charitable endeavors are amazing. I’ve learned so much from them.
59. I love Mom’s love of gardening that she passed on to me.
60. I loved summer camping trips. Mom packed the best food, and Dad would always play catch with us.
61. They taught us that we could do hard things. We hiked the Pinnacles when I was like five—THE PINNACLES. That’s a serious hike and we did it together.
62. They taught us that nothing was impossible. Even though we didn’t have much money growing up, our dreams were always within reach!
63. I love the way that they always hold hands, how they love to sit next to each other, and how they are the most reliable, kind, and helpful people.
64. They are an incredible example of true love—always looking out for each other, doing something kind for each other, and always doing things together.
65. I love that they love to dress up in costumes!
66. I love the way Ron looks at Jenny—like she hung the moon!
67. Family is EVERYTHING to them and they made me feel like part of the family from the first time I came over to the house at 16 years old. I always wanted to be around them.
68. Do you need a hand with something? You can always call Ron.
69. There aren’t better in-laws on the planet. They’re the best.
Gideon, Misty and Jake’s eldest son, writes:
70. They are always there to help and they will always love and respect you.
71. They also will give you yummy treats that aren’t quite as sweet as they are.
Ashelyn, Misty and Jake’s daughter, explains:
72. I loved it when Grandpa surprised me with a pink motorcycle.
73. I loved that day when I got to sew with Grandma.
74. I also had a great time playing that game called Qwirkle with them. It’s so fun!
Ezra, the baby of Jake and Misty’s family, writes:
Grandma and Grandpa are so kind and helpful. I love them!
We’ve made it to Josh, Jenny and Ron’s baby boy! He reflects on his favorite memories:
76. I remember sewing together with Mom and all those times at 2-3 a.m. talking with her while she was sewing.
77. Riding motocross with Dad. We had both just finished our races and were so tired, but so happy that we got to share that moment getting to race together. Dad can still get down and ride with the best of us!
78. Acting with mom in local plays really helped me gain a love of theatre.
79. Playing pranks with Mom. Sometimes these can get brutal. Haha!
And last, but certainly not least, Talon, Josh’s son, writes:
80. I love making pillowcases with Grandma every year.
This list could go on and on, and rightfully so. Jenny and Ron are two of the very best people we know! Please join us in wishing them both a very happy 40th wedding anniversary! If you have a memory of this remarkable couple, please feel free to share it with us in the comments below.
What are fellow quilters making? Why are these designs and fabrics so popular? Are these trends new or are traditional styles making a comeback?
Don’t worry, we’ve found the answers. We’ve taken a close look into the world of quilting to find out what’s trending. Here are are the top five:
From Memorial Day to Veterans Day, a star quilt can find itself taking center stage all throughout the year and when we aren’t stocked up on red, white, and blue; quilters find stars to be quite innovative. Five points or ten, stars can be adjusted to fit any style from traditional to modern. Thus, the trendy star takes the cake.
Hexagons are as old as time – well, as old at 1770 from what we can find in written quilt history. Over the years, quilters have transformed the way we create hexagons and with English paper piecing, fussy cutting, and quilt-as-you-go projects, today’s hexagon quilts are full of unique possibilities.
We’ll put a hex on you with these amazing hexagon items, but don’t worry, this is one spell you won’t want to break:
Everyone knows quilters are resilient so what do we do when life throws us a curve ball? We make a quilt! Lately, sewists are embracing the challenges that curves bring, and becoming more confident in piecing them together.
Start conquering your own curves with these ideas:
Sometimes your quilt just needs that extra cute factor and what better than adding an appliqué animal! A perfect addition to a soft, cuddly baby quilt or to add a little fun and imagination to your next project, appliqué animals are so popular because they’re so easy to create!
Check out how these appliqué animals make these projects pop:
This is the time of year that we think about setting goals. We want to be better and all of you constantly inspire me to keep trying. This brand new issue of BLOCK has been spruced up from cover to cover to start 2020 off in style! The design has been refreshed, exciting changes are on every page, more stories from our readers, and even more to come throughout the year! We hope you love it.
Starting new also means celebrating success and recognizing growth. BLOCK has been through a lot over the past six years and so have you. I love to see how quilting changes us and helps us become stronger. Most of the letters I receive contain stories that explain how quilting has helped you get through your challenges.
No matter how many trials you encounter in your lives, when you spend time at your sewing machine, you begin to put yourself back together, piece by piece. It takes time, but that journey is so sweet. Handing off this precious quilt that you made for someone who needs some love or encouragement changes you.
This year, I want to focus on finding joy each day. No one thrives in negativity and so, each day, I try to look for one good thing. Instead of worrying about all the things I’m not doing, I’m going to find the things I can do. I don’t think I’m going to try and finish all my UFOs or completely redo my sewing room. But I will spend more time at my sewing machine! It brings peace to my soul. You quilters continually bring hope and love into the world. Keep an eye on those around you and spread as much joy as you can!
We’ve been sharing our resolution of New Year, New Projects – a goal to simply create more. As we try to inspire all of you to do this, we hope you realize just how much you inspire us right back.
In planning towards becoming more creative and making more, we’ve started with our own in-house publication,BLOCK Magazine. For the last six years, BLOCK Magazine has been an “idea book” designed, produced, and published by Missouri Star Quilt Co. On every glossy page, you’ll find stunning photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories!
It was a small idea that originally gave birth to what this magazine became. Now that it’s 2020 – a new year, a new decade… Another small idea has grown into what is now the new and improved BLOCK Magazine. The idea book still holds everything you already love inside, but better and with more content!
The team creatively pieced together a new design concept and the end result is stunning – well, we think so and we hope you love it too! If you’re subscribed, you’ll see the fresh, new look within your next issue. If not, subscribe today so you don’t miss out!
… And because we’re so excited – we just can’t resist sharing a sneak peek of our brand new cover design:
Drum roll please…
Eek! We’re in love with this sleek, modern look! Oh, and notice the new content that’s waiting inside? We’re so excited to share it with you!
“We’re so excited to bring you a brand new issue of BLOCK that’s been completely refreshed for 2020! This new design includes even more of what you love: original articles, beautiful photography, a gorgeous cover, fun projects, stories from our readers, and not an ad in sight… We hope you love it! Stay tuned for exciting updates that will be happening throughout the coming months. It’s sure to be a great year for quilting!”
– Natalie Earnheart, Managing Editor
So what’s coming to BLOCK Magazine?
Fresh, new cover design
More authentic photo styling
Stories (from Jenny AND more from our readers)
Educational quilting articles
10 patterns + 1 bonus project
Jenny’s Journal (a highlight of Jenny’s personal projects)
Mystery Story with a new chapter in each issue
and sew much more!
Take a peek into the next issue of BLOCK Magazine
These are a few of the quilts that will be featured in the upcoming issue!
Over $50 worth of information is packed into each bi-monthly issue of BLOCK Magazine for just $7.99! ($9.99 bi-monthly for Canadian subscriptions.) There are NO ads and each issue ships FREE with your subscription!
Subscribe by January 30, 2020 to get this issue in March!
Any way you slice it, a half-square triangle is a thing of beauty. For such a simple quilt block, so many incredible designs can be created! Half-square triangles are in about 80% of the quilts we sew here at Missouri Star, so we wanted to give you a few handy tips and tricks to make stitching them together easier than ever.
Here’s how 1 typical half-square triangle is made:
Take two precut fabric squares, stack them right sides together, and draw a line down the center on a diagonal from corner to corner. Sew on the line and trim away a quarter inch away from your seam line. That will give you a half square triangle that is the same size as the squares you started with. It leaves two smaller triangles as scraps. But we can do better than that!
Here are Jenny’s favorite methods of sewing half-square triangles, just for you:
2 at a Time
Take two 5” or 10” precut fabric squares, stack them right sides together, and draw a line down the center on a diagonal from corner to corner. Sew ¼ inch out on both sides of the drawn line, then cut down the line in the center, and press open. That gives you two easy half-square triangles!
4 at a Time
Take two 5” or 10” precut fabric squares and stack them right sides together. Sew ¼ inch all the way around the perimeter of the squares. Then cut twice diagonally, from corner to corner, and press open to make four half-square triangle units! But wait … it gets even better.
8 at a Time
Take two 5” or 10” precut fabric squares, stack them right sides together, and draw an x from corner to corner. Stitch ¼ inch out on both sides of the lines, cut diagonally on each drawn line, and press open to get eight beautiful half-square triangles!
Try using the Clearly Perfect Slotter Trimmers to make squaring up your quilt blocks simple. It’s a nifty quilt template that not only cuts your half-square triangles to the right size but trims the seam down perfectly as well! It’s a neat little invention, click HERE to get yours now!
Be creative with the handy half-square triangle and have a blast! Try playing around with quilt layout possibilities for just fifteen minutes and make something new today. When you turn and flip these versatile quilt blocks the design possibilities are absolutely endless! Click HERE to see some of the tutorials Jenny used HST to create her pattern.