Tuesday, December 1, 2020

December Color Challenge

 I can't believe it's December and we are sharing the last of our 

2020 Monthly Color Challenge blocks.

This month's color is Red

and the bird is the Cardinal

For the pattern and block instructions, 
head over to 


I am thrilled that the featured bird this month is the Cardinal
as that is the state bird of Ohio, my home state.

The picture above shows both the male (left) and female (right) cardinal
As with many other birds we've learned about this year, it is the male who has the most vibrant colors. 

The male cardinal is a brilliant all-over red, while the female is a pale brown with reddish tinges in the wings. Both the male and female have a reddish/orange bill that is surrounded by a black face. (My grandchildren say that these birds have a black mask.) 

Both the male and female have a very thick bill and prominent crest. The thick bill and strong tongue allows the birds to extract seeds by crushing or cutting the shell. It's quite interesting to watch, and this video is awesome. 

Cardinals can be found in backyards, parks, woodlots, and shrubby forest edges. They often visit bird feeders, but frequently perch a little bit away from them and swoop in inconspicuously to grab their food and go - a fun grab and go technique to watch. 

We are very fortunate to have the right habitat for cardinals, and enjoy them frequently. I have to admit that winter is my favorite time to see them, as their bright red color contrasts beautiful against freshly fallen snow. I've been known to take a lot of bird pictures and love to share them here on the blog. Here are a few of my favorites.

This special cardinal spent the winter of 2017 with us. After sending off some pictures to Cornell Lab of Ornithology we were told that this is a partially leucistic female cardinal, or one lacking pigment in the crest feathers. 

Every morning, as my husband and I drank our coffee in the back room, discussed our daily schedule and watched the birds, this one would eventually show up. She was quite skiddish and didn't dilly dally around too much. Before finding out the real story about her colors, Jack and I created some interesting ones of our own. My favorite is Jack's theory that she's just an old lady cardinal who, like him, is full of wisdom and mystery for the other birds to enjoy. :-) 

Scientists have identified at least 16 different calls from the cardinal, but the one most often heard is a loud, metallic chirp. This call is made when warning other birds of their territory, when predators are near, when females approach their nests, or when both genders are approaching the nest with food for their nestlings. 

Gee, do you think I am enthralled with cardinals

I guess since I like cardinals so much, it's not surprising to know that I use a lot of red in my quilts.

This is one of my favorite red and white quilts. It's Prairie Star - a Judy Niemeyer pattern.

This is one of my favorite patriotic quilts - 
Freedom Rings 
This was made for the Blank Quilting American Honor Contest in 2017. 

I make a lot of Quilts of Valor and there is always red in those. 

Heart and Soul 
is another favorite, and it was also made for the American Honor Contest. 

Being from Ohio, I feel obligated to show a "Big O" scarlet and grey quilt. 

This very bad picture is one of my favorite one block wonder quilts.

Here's another favorite quilt that used a lot of red scraps.

This scrap buster was fun too.

I was just a little short for the binding and threw in a little bit of red. 
It was perfect and I have intentionally used this technique multiple times since. 

Of course there is always red in Christmas quilts. 

I guess I should get back to the the Color Challenge blocks!

Here are my fabrics. Of course I purchased these from Once Upon a Quilt. I LOVE that red and wish I had purchased more. 

Here are my pieces - cut and ready to sew.

The completed blocks!

These look much more complicated than they are. 
For block instructions, go to 

Be sure to check out the other featured bloggers this month.

Patterns by Jen

As Always, thanks to our wonderful sponsors! 
Be sure to send some quilty love to this quarters sponsors who have donated some awesome gifts.   

Thank You Sponsors! 

Sponsors October thru December

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day


Thank you!

I will share a recent Quilt of Valor presentation pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Quilt Top Finishes

I finished the Rickrack quilt top that I showed yesterday

This picture really does not do these fabrics justice. It was windy and nasty outside, so I had no choice but to take the picture on the design wall. The light was mediocre at best. I even tried to get a close up of the fabrics, but even that didn't work. In the picture below, the dark fabric is much darker than in reality, but I tried. These are fabrics from Corey Yoder. The coral is from the Sugarcreek collection and the grey is from Canning Jar. The light is actually a very light green that works perfectly with these other two fabrics.

Here is the quilt that I mentioned in yesterday's post. It's called Dash and can be found in the Easy Peasy 3-Yard Quilt book

These fabrics photographed a bit better than the previous quilt, but they still aren't great. The grey is easy to see, but the orange - no so much. I look forward to getting this outside and getting good pictures. This was fun and easy to make. 

I've got one more to make and hope to get to that within the next couple of days. Stay posted!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Design Wall Monday

I'm still working on secret sewing projects, but I do take some time to sneak in a few of my own projects every once in a while.

A while back, I bought a couple of the 3 Yard Quilts books by Donna Robertson.  My intention was to make a number of these projects and use them for donation quilts. I also figured that since I would have made the quilts, I could use my experience to help new quilters make fun, attractive, and easy quilts. It sounds like a great plan, right?

Before I even picked out my first project, "the virus" hit and things got a little crazy. Since we were staying home, you'd think that would have been a perfect time to pick up these books and put my plan into action. Did I do that? Nope! Instead, I worked on a few UFOs, started (and even finished) some new projects, and worked on variety of pattern tests and commission works. These books get set aside and pushed to the back burner.

They finally made their way to the front of the line last week while I was at Chestnut Ridge. My friend Ellen and I pulled fabric for one project from each of three books I own and I got started cutting and sewing. Seriously, these projects take 3 yards of fabric - 1 yard of 3 different fabrics, and that even includes the binding. Yes, they will be small quilts; but there are instructions on how to enlarge each of the quilts to twin size or queen/king. Easy, peasy!

I have one top complete, but don't have a good picture. I'll get that later today and share that tomorrow. Here is my progress on the second quilt - Rickrack, from Quick as a Wink 3-Yard Quilts.

These quilts really are quick and easy to make. I made the first one in just a few hours and this one will be the same. I'll make the third top later this week and then look for backing. I'd love to get these quilted and bound quickly so they don't get put into the "tub of shame" AKA - "to be quilted tub." 

What are you working on today?

Check out the quilters eye candy at

Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts


Beth's Monday Making 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

November Color Challenge

 It's Color Challenge Time!

This month's color is Buff

and the bird is the Buff Breasted Sandpiper

For the pattern and block instructions, 
head over to 


We are getting close to the end of the year and I know that many of us feel that is a really good thing. While there are some things that I am happy to see ending, participating in the Color Challenge is not one of them. I have enjoyed seeing all the wonderful quilt blocks, but have enjoyed learning about the birds even more.

This unassuming beauty is a young Buff Breasted Sandpiper.
I will admit that when I first saw that November's color was Buff, I was not overly excited. It looked kind of blah to me. It didn't take long before I changed my mind when I got a look at this bird and how my blocks were coming together. 

The Buff Breasted Sandpiper is a rather small, slender bird with a short bill and round head. Their eyes look "beady" to me, but they are often described as "wide-eye expression" by ornithologists. That sounds so much better than "beady." 

See what I mean by an unassuming look? This adult bird doesn't have fancy feathers or plumage. Instead it's just a wonderful, sleek-looking bird.

Well, that's the case until the males start their mating ritual.  
Check out this short video in which the male erupts into a beautiful display. He spreads his wings, points his bill to the sky and puffs out his chest. He even turns for us! Be patient, he'll spread his wings starting around the 25 second mark. 

You can hear a little bit of the calls in the above video, but HERE are some better examples. 
These birds are usually pretty quiet, but the males make a ticking sound when courting females; and the make low trills and "chuh" call when in flight.

These birds, which were once very abundant, have declined in in numbers since the early 1900s. They are migratory birds that can be found in North America mostly on dry open grounds (prairies, pastures, airports, and plowed fields). They can be found on shores of lakes and ponds, or on coastal flats, but those areas of usually high and dry. They eat mostly insects - flies, midges, and beetles, as well as spiders and small crustaceans.


Similar to last month's color (olive) I have discovered that I have not used buff in many quilts over the years. As a matter of fact, I can't find any pictures in which I used buff as the focus color. :-(

Since this is not a typical color for me to use and since I wasn't exactly excited about it, I did struggle choosing my fabric for this month. Once again, the wonderful staff at Once Upon a Quilt came to the rescue. Isn't this batik beautiful?

Speaking of Once Upon a Quilt, they just started Twisted Tuesday. Watch this video to see how you can participate. Sew much FUN!

Here are my pieces, cut and ready to sew.

And here are my blocks. I love them!

Check out the other bloggers who made the block this month. It's always fun to see the different fabrics used and the interpretation of the color. 

Thanks to our wonderful sponsors! 
Be sure to send some quilty love to this quarters sponsors who have donated some awesome gifts.   

Thank You Sponsors! 

Sponsors October thru December

Monday, October 26, 2020

Design Wall Monday

 I have the Rockn' Roller Coaster quilt top completed and am contemplating the quilting and binding options.

While I am not thrilled with my fabric choices for the top row, I don't dislike it enough to take it out and change it. :)  

What's kind of interesting though, is that it doesn't bother me very much at all when I rotate the quilt. It sure does give this a different look, doesn't it? Jack says he likes it better this way; and since it will be here for kids to use, I think it could be fun for them to decide which way they like it best.  

I may have to give some extra thought to the quilting, if it's rotated. Hmmmm What are your thoughts?

And while I'm asking, what are your thoughts about binding? 

I have been working on a few secret sewing projects, so not much more has been done with my Ava's Garden blocks. I look forward to working on those again because I just love churn dash blocks.

What are you working on today?

Check out some Quilters' Eye Candy at

Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 


Beth's Monday Making

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A New Project

I love it when a leader/ender project becomes the focus/main project!

I've been doing a lot of secret sewing projects and as usual, I can't share them just yet. But, I can share the latest leader/ender project that has just moved to the main feature project.  

Rock'n Roller Coaster

This is a very special project for me. I was honored to meet and spend three days with both of these awesome ladies back in September during the much-revised Ohio's Amish Country Quilt Festival. I knew that I wanted to create something special from that time together and this is the result. 

As many of you know, I test patterns for Tammy and love doing that. (We've had lots of communication over the past couple of years, but we'd never met in person, so meeting her was really fun!) What you may not know is that Tammy designs fabric too. I've been eyeing her Kismet line and was thrilled when she gave me a set of 2 1/2" strips. WooHoo!

That made my fabric choice for my special project easy. Whew! Now I just needed to decide on a pattern. Low and behold, Krista's Rock'n Roller Coaster pattern uses 2 1/2" strips. Decision made!

I typically have a patriotic quilt as a leader/ender project, but I decided that I wanted to take a break from that and start this quilt. It's quite easy, and the hardest part was deciding which strips I wanted to use because the quilt only uses 15 print strips. I have lots left over and am looking forward to using them for another project too - one that I've designed.  :-)

Of course moving the leader/ender project to the main project means that I need to start a new leader/ender project. Truth be told, I have some that I could have and maybe should have started up again, but I decided to start work on my Ava's Garden quilt, which is designed by Myra Barnes of Busy Hands Quilts. I am honored to test and sew for her too, and I decided that it would be cool to include one of her projects in this mix of things. (Of course I am working on a secret sewing project for her right now, but I wanted something that will be mine to keep.) 

Ava's Garden quilt started

I have always liked the Churn Dash block and the fact that these are made from 10" squares is great because I just happened to have a Berry Sweet by Elyse DeNeige 10 Karat Crystals pack sitting around my sewing area. I even had the yellow background fabric. Sweet!

I love the picture above. I think it shows how I feel about myself as a quilter - a nice healthy mix of traditional and modern. :-)

Stayed tuned for updates of this and those secret sewing projects I mentioned earlier. :-)