Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Darla's Block

Remember last week when I told you about my quiting friend/student? Well, today I remembered to take my camera. YEAH! She's making a Buckeye Beauty block and she has all the four patch and half square triangle units made. We spent today trimming up everything and laid out four blocks so she could see what it's going to look like. She hasn't decided what fabric she'll use for the sashing or the cornerstones, but we simulated them by leaving space for the sashing and adding a black square for the cornerstone.

I think she's doing a great job and this is going to be BEAUTIFUL! 

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Jack and I were noticing the other day that there are more and more people decorating for Halloween lately, and I don't mean just a few pumpkins and flags. No, there are not only intricately carved pumpkins, but lots of inflatable spiders, ghosts and haunted houses, but also lots of outdoor light decorations. WOW! It's almost like Christmas, just in black and orange.

Now, I like to see the decorations, but I really dislike putting them up and worse - taking them down!

It is kind of a running joke here at our house about the fact that I really procrastinate when it comes to holiday decorating. Even at Christmas I am content to let someone else get the job done. Now that the girls are both gone, I pretty much have to force myself to decorate. When they were here, it was easy. I would get the items from the basement and set them out in the back room. And viola!, in a couple of days everything was done.

Now I guess in retrospect my lack of desire to decorate isn't entirely true. I have no problem changing out my quilts! A few of my favorite quilts are wall hangings that I display each year for the various holidays. Do you have favorite "quilty" decorations you like to use?

Even though this is one of my earliest projects and there are lots of problem areas (Can you say wavy borders?), this continues to be one of my all-time favorite quilts. I love the colors and the scrappy pieced binding!

It's funny that I still like this quilt so much. I used to always work in what Jack called "safe" colors and fabrics. Everything matched and I often used a specific fabric line so I would be sure that it all "went together." I've made a lot of projects using the color scheme from this wall hanging or something very similar, but I'm happy to say that I've developed a greater sense of adventure lately.
I really like scrappy quilting and I try to have a much broader range of fabric choices. Sometimes I think I am working outside of my comfort zone, but quite honestly I'm feeling a lot like just working with fabric is my comfort zone - no matter what the design or color is. I think my discomfort comes from not being happy with the fabric choices available in my stash and my conflict on whether or not I should buy more fabric.
I am seriously trying to use up stash and I've done a pretty darn good job the last couple of years, but sometimes I just can't find a fabric that works for me. I audition lots of fabrics and I may even sew a block or two before I decide that I just don't like it and decide that I have to buy something.
Now don't get me wrong. I do continue to buy fabric. I often/usually buy fabric for a project that I'll be teaching because someone always asks if the fabric in the sample is available for kits. Besides, it helps the shops sell fabric when customers see the sample, and if I help them sell fabric they'll keep having me back to teach. (That's a real win-win situation!) As a matter of fact, I often make a large quilt out of fabric that I really like and then make a small version using a completely different type, style or color of fabric. I often change the borders up a bit, or embellish it too. Here's an example. The original pattern is Voila! from Swirly Girls Design.
Here are my versions!
I love the more traditional look of the black, white and red. But my favorite thing about this quilt is the striped border.
I love the pink, orange and yellow together! I would never have done that a few years ago. I used a striped border fabric again just because I could.  :-)
Here's a small version made from my stash. I love the border fabric and added cornerstones because I didn't have enough of it.
Now here's a small sample made out of some more traditional fabrics. If I'm not mistaken, most of these fabrics are from Thimbleberries so you know they'll all "work" together.
It still amazes me how different all of these look!
I guess I just love fabric and color. Life sure is good!

Upcoming Blog Hop

I'm participating in another blog hop soon. YEAH!! I had so much fun with the Dots on Dots hop and when I saw the information about a new one, I was super excited.

This one is called UR Priceless and I'm sure you're going to love it. It begins Nov. 5th and continues on through Nov. 13th.

I have my coin purse made but I just pulled fabric for a few others. (Notice I didn't say for another one!) I have a feeling this may become addictive to make so I had better start thinking about  a support group or something. :-)

Also, I haven't decided on a giveaway yet and although I know it's not a requirement, I like to do it so I better get my thinking cap on and make a decision. Any ideas???

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Using Quilts

I love it when the girls use the quilts I've made! They were still tired when I took this picture, but they were awake enough to ask for a quilt to share while they watched TV.  :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rag Quilt

While we were at Nikki's she brought out a rag quilt for us to use. I really like rag quilts. They are so warm and easy to make!

When we first got the rag quilt bug a number of years ago, Nikki and Lynn each made a bunch of them. They made a couple for themselves, some for their grandparents, my brother John, my sister-in-law Ellen, and I don't even remember who else. John and Ellen's were made using Monroeville's school colors and they plotted out the blocks so they created a big M. These quilts were large (9" blocks set 9 x 11) and were great during football games!

During this time, Nikki was always sketching out quilt possibilities and there was one really pretty quilt that she drew. I knew she really like it because she started to search my flannel stash and save up money to buy the fabrics she needed. Unbeknownst to her, I took this sketch and made the quilt. I gave it to her on Christmas that year. She was still in high school or in her first year of college, so it probably was made about ten years ago.

Don't you just love it when people use the quilts you make for them? It always makes me feel so good.  :-)

I think I want to make another one similar to this. Now, what should I put in the center?

Weekend with the Kids

We were in Dayton for Alex and Erica's wedding this past weekend and stayed at Nikki and Zach's. Since the wedding didn't start until 4:30, we decided to take a trip to Jungle Jim's International Market. Jack and I had never been there, but Nikki's family (including the girls) really enjoys going there. It was super crowded because we were there on a Saturday, but it was still pretty amazing.

Of course the girls enjoyed the waterfall and other outside attractions the best. Can you see the giant strawberry in the top left corner?

Can you tell that the girls really didn't want this picture taken? There was too much to see!
This is better...
I think we need to make plans to go to Cincy during the week and spend more time at this store!

Design Wall Monday - Sort of

The Vintage is still up on the wall - half together! I really need to finish this, but I keep finding other things that need done and this just stays as is.  :-(

I did finish my Christmas version of Candy Corn. I wasn't sure if the project would be quilted and bound before tomorrow's private lesson, but it is and all the "steps" samples are ready too!

I decided that I didn't like the binding on this little quilt. I thought it was boring and blended into the outside border too much, so I added a very small flange. I used the same white/gold fleck fabric used in the praire points and bound it in the same red as the praire points. I like it much better! Here's a close up.
I'd like to sew tonight, but since the lights keep flickering off and on, I think I just better do some handwork.
Check out what other quilters have on their design walls.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Much Better!

Now these are much better!

You can tell they are keys. I'll post the recipe I used and the changes I made later. Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Isn't it funny what people find entertaining? I personally enjoy a good book, baseball and of course almost anything quilt-related. I was looking through some of the pictures I took while Nikki and family were here and this is what the girls found entertaining.

Sadie loves playing with the "word rocks." Quinn enjoys these also, but Sadie plays with these just about every time she's here. 

These came from one of the "Sisters' Weekend" a couple of years ago when we all just wrote things on rocks and gave them to each other. Some are pretty generic and all of us have the same words, while others are very specific to me. I know it sounds silly, but this was fun and I always think of my sisters when I see the rocks. I especially like it when the kids play with them and I read what's written on them.

Quinn enjoys being a helper! It doesn't matter if you're picking up sticks outside, making dinner, sewing or folding laundery, she just likes to help.

I think her favorite chore to do is running the vacuum and this little one is perfect for her. I sure do wish these girls lived closer. Besides the obvious reasons why, I know my carpets would be cleaner if they did.  :-)

Cookie Solution #1

Ok, here's what I was talking about with the key cookies. This is a picture of one of the better looking cookies after it was frosted with a glaze that hardens and shines when it dries. I should have taken a picture before it was frosted, but I forgot. See how the bottom right of the cookie is "fat" and not defined? That is what I'm trying to fix. Of course I decided to go ahead and frost these even though they aren't great. This is a pretty messy frosting job, but I was just playing around with my options.

I decided to see how it would look if I cut out rectangles and used the cookie cutter as part of the decoration/frosting rather than the shape. Again, this was just a test so the rectangle isn't perfect.

In another test, I cut out some hearts and frosted them in red. After they dried, I took the key cookie cutter and just "cut" a key-shaped outline in the center of the heart. (I tried to get a picture but I couldn't get it to come out right so you can see the key in the middle of the cookie.) It's not bad, but I like the rectangle cookie above better. I even like the ragged edge of the key. I think it's fitting for Halloween season.  :-)
I've got another recipe to try (thanks Heleen), so I'll keep you posted.


I'm baking cookies for the bank tonight (ok, it's technically morning) and the cut-outs did not turn out as planned. :-(

The bank bought a key cookie cutter, which is ok, but the cookies puff up too much and the key becomes unrecognizable. I've tried two different recipes and both of them did this. I've tried making the cookies thinner, but that didn't matter. ARGGGGHHHH  I'm frustrated!

Anyone have a cut-out recipe that doesn't puff up too much that they'd be willing to share? I'm going to send what I have tomorrow (later this morning actually), but try something else for the balance of the order for Friday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I've been working with a really wonderful woman (D.C.) who wants to learn to do all quilt-related things (cutting, piecing, pressing, etc.) better than she does now. She hasn't been quilting for very long, and she has a relatively new machine. She really struggled with rotary cutting so that is where we started.

On my first trip to her house, I took a bunch of scrap yardage and misc. scraps and we cut and cut and cut. I like to do that with students because they really do stress out about wasting fabric and that is often reflected in their learning. When they didn't buy the fabric, it's easier to make mistakes and not get so upset. :-)  I have a big bin filled with fabric that includes some not-so-great quality pieces so I don't mind if that gets wasted; but I also have a bin of fabric that I don't absoutely love so I have students cut that into usable pieces that are often pieced into donation quilts.

Anyway, back to D.C. After practicing quite a while, I decided she was ready for some  "homework". I gave her a list of pieces to cut and left the bin of fabric with her. I wrote the list out as if she would be reading from a pattern. She had to cut strips by width of fabric and then sub-cut them into appropriate sizes. I never told her she was actually cutting fabric for a quilt, but I knew she'd figure it out.

She did a great job picking fabrics and cutting the required pieces! Our next move was to start some piecing. I decided she needed to learn some strip piecing as well as some more traditional piecing techniques since so many patterns are written that way. We spent a fair amount of time working with her machine so she was more confident with it and then we began the "real deal." When I left, she had pieced a half dozen or so four patch units that were perfect!

When I returned today, she had peiced 96 four-patch units that looked great. She had a few she wasn't thrilled with so we spent some time figuring out what was wrong with them and how to fix the problem. Ahhhh, we used our friend the seam ripper.  :-)

The next step was to make some half square triangles and she did an awesome job. After she had about ten of them done, I laid out some of the four-patch units and half square triangles to reveal the block she'll be sewing together very soon. She's making Buckeye Beauty blocks!

I can't wait until we start putting the blocks together. We're going to add sashing and cornerstones so she can learn that and then we're going to add a border. This is going to be a really cool quilt and I know she's going to learn a lot. I'll try to remember my camera next week so you can see her actual blocks.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Wall Monday

Well, the Vintage quilt isn't quite as far along as I had hoped, but that's ok. I have all the blocks sewn and half of them put together, but I had to put it aside to work on a small project for Thursday.

This is a Christms version of Candy Corn, which is in the Thimbleberries book Quilting for Harvest II. This is a cute little table topper that is quick, easy and fun.

As you can tell, the second round of praire points are ready to be basted and then I just have to add the outside borders and this puppy is ready to quilt. Here's a close up of the praire points.

I have a new quilter who wants to make this project and even though I know it's very easy and I'm sure I could teach it without having made the quilt, I really felt that I needed to. I like having a sample handy to show students. I will also have another version of this quilt in various stages of completion to help the student. I like doing that because I'm a visual person and assume that many of  my students are as well. Besides, I'll finish the partial quilt and have another gift or donation possibility on hand. It's a win-win situation!

Check out what other quilters have on their design walls today.
Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

All the Trimmings

No, I'm not talking about food!

I'm talking about the little slivers of pieces left after you trim your pieced blocks. Now I try to pride myself in accurate piecing, but sometimes I purposely oversize. I would much rather have to take the time to trim blocks or block units than struggle to make them fit because of inaccurate sewing. Here's my pile of trimmings after cleaning up 99 blocks for my Vintage quilt.

After I had sewn the fifty hour glass blocks I knew I was going to trim because I had forgotten to switch the needle position back to the quarter inch mark.  It wasn't much off, but enough that I decided to trim. I guess that having made that decision, I didn't care when my nine-patch blocks weren't perfect.

Here's all the blocks trimmed and ready to put together. With any luck, I'll have a quilt top by the end of the day - borders and all. This is going to be a cute little quilt!  :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


OK, here's the disclaimer. Although I do not particularly like spiders, I don't hate them. Usually they just startle me and that is why I don't like them; and I completely understand the myriad of reactions to seeing spiders, whether its a scream, an exclamation of foul language, etc.

There is one kind of spider that doesn't bother me at all. As a matter of fact, I kind of like them. These spiders are absolutely beautiful!

Sheryll made this for Jack. It's the second one she's made for him because the first one got broken.  Hopefully we've taken steps to prevent that because we've encased this one in a Lucite box. I have a spider also, but it's up on a high shelf and I just didn't take the time to get it down to take pictures. I may just have to do that so you can see how beautiful that one is also.
What do you think, isn't it a true work of art?

Today's Tasks

Ok, I really need to get off this computer and get over to the sewing machine! Sometimes it seems to take a very long time to check the day's e-mails, catch up on news and poke around at a few of my favorite websites. Today is one of those days.

I have an embroidery order to crank out today or tomorrow and I really should do it before I work on the four patch units on my Vintage quilt. Of ocurse I'd rather work on the piecing, but I'll be a good girl and finish the towels first. I also have a cookie order, but I'll work on that while the embroidery is being done.

Jack and I have dinner plans tonight and I'm really excited. We don't go out often, so this is a treat for us. What makes this a real treat is that we will be joined by three really wonderful friends.

I hope you spend the day doing something you love or with someone you love! :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


After almost two weeks (seems like more) of no quilting, I sat down at the sewing machine tonight and started working on the Vintage kit that I got from Tennessee Quilts when I was there in April. This pattern is by Pauline Smith and can be found in Kaffee Fassett's book Quits in Sweden. The kit included the original fabrics from the book, including the binding. I don't often buy kits, especially ones with all the original fabrics but I really liked this one and decided that I would spend a lot of time trying to recreate this look so why not just buy the kit. Plus, it didn't hurt that I go it on sale! :-)

All 50 of the hour glass blocks are done (although they need the dog ears trimmed off), and 9 of the 49 nine-patch blocks are done.
Ahhhhhhh......feels good to have sewn tonight!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Today did not go as planned! (Big surprise, right?)

I had lots of plans to get stuff done - like do a complete cleaning of the kitchen and bedrooms. (The wedding was Saturday and the last of the guests left Monday afternoon.) Didn't happen and it won't happen tomorrow! ARGGGGGGHHHH

Oh, and I guess I should have followed my gut when it came to Blogtoberfest. I've missed three days in a row.  :-(

I wonder if I could ask for some extra credit assignments, like I did in high school. Do you think that will make up for missing days or help get my work done?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fun for All Ages

The pumpkin faces were a hit with Great Grandma too!

Check out the smiling faces on these three lovely ladies last night.

It was fun having people over last night and I think the "blushing bride to be" had fun.

Happy Mom Here!

In about 14 hours I will be sitting in Church watching my youngest daughter Lynn marry Ty, the man of her dreams!

It sure does a mother good to know that her children are happy. I feel very blessed that both of my daughters have found really great men with whom to spend the rest of their lives.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples

This quilt is not mine, but I quilted it for a friend.

Yumm! Now I'm hungry for a nice crisp apple. Good thing we're going apple picking Sunday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Sadie really likes to color, and talk, and sing and laugh, and sleep.
But, she especially likes to color!

She's moved from the kitchen table to the little desk that Jack fixed up for the kids. This desk and chair are pretty old and Jack spent some time this summer fixing them both and giving them a new coat of paint. 

I think she likes the desk! What do you think?
I love that smile!  :-)


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It Still Works!

The pumpkin placemats I made last year are still entertaining for the girls.

They played with them the entire time Nikki was making breakfast and they didn't want to stop when the food was ready! When it was time to eat, we put the face parts away and they used the placemats to eat. After the dishes were put away, the game reconvened. 
They had a great time playing "Pin the Face on the Pumpkin" by closing their eyes and trying to place the parts in the right place. I swear I just lost five pounds laughing so hard - maybe that's just wishful thinking, but we sure had fun.  :-)
Oh by the way, the mess you see in this picture is really just a figment of your imagination. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :-) 

The Great Fall Classic!

You know what I'm talking about if you are a baseball fan like me. Unfortunately I haven't been able to watch as much of the post-season as I would like, but I did get the chance to catch a little bit of a game tonight. Was anyone else a bit surprised to see four errors between the Yankees and Orioles? Wow!

Tomorrow should bring a little bit of quilting/sewing time. I've been busy, but I really do miss not being able to spend some quality time with my machine. It's kind of like going through withdrawal when I don't get to sew much. Hopefully I'll have something to show tomorrow. :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Where Did It Go?

I'm asking abut time! Where did the time go?

I guess that my attempt at properly participating in this year's Blogtoberfest has been a bust. I've already missed two days! I know it isn't a big deal, but really, it's only the 8th and I've already missed two days. :-(

I will post more later, but it really has been busy here. The embroidery orders are all done, although I've picked up another one that doesn't need done until after the wedding. The last of the cookies are baking as I type this (I hope they finish soon because I have to leave for an appointment in less than ten minutes!), and I'm close to finishing the napkins.

So far so good with the schedule. Shhhhh! I don't want to jinx it.  :-)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Late... :-(

Wow, I completely forgot to post yesterday! I guess I was just in a hurry all day long and well, we see what happened. Oh well.

I'm headed out the door in about ten minutes to teach two classes today.  One is a table runner and the other it a table topper. They are pretty quick projects which makes them great for last minute gift-giving ideas. I really love teaching! Maybe I'll take pictures today and post them for all to see.  :-)

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Better Pictures?

Ok, I've finally decided I need to do something about the quality of the pictures I post here on the blog and use in my patterns. I thought about getting a new camera but know that I really can't blame the camera. It's me, the operator! (They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?) Anyway, I've never really learned to use my camera and as much as I'd like to say a new camera would solve all the problems, I know that's just not realistic.

So what have I done? I'm starting by taking a class from Quilt University called Photographing Your Quilt which is being taught by Janice Baehr, one of the co-founders of the Pacific Rim Quilt Company.

Hopefully you will start seeing some progress and I won't even have to mention the class again. Wish me luck!! :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Fall is my favorite season on the year. I know it is often cold and damp and there are lots of leaves to rake and wood to split, but I guess I just choose to look at the positive aspects of the season. We could be under a foot of snow, have no heat and have to plow the driveway.

But I digress. Why do I love this time of year? First of all, the baseball post-season starts and if you know me at all, you know I love baseball. :-) Quite honestly it doesn't really matter who is playing, I just like to watch a good game. There is kind of a sadness when the season is all over, but that's okay because football quickly fills the void. 

I also enjoy spending time with family and friends outdoors. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to spend a couple of hours sitting around a bonfire. There's just something about the cool night air and a big fire to make me feel so peaceful and relaxed. (Of course the hot dogs and s'mores don't hurt!)

Speaking of peaceful and relaxed, I just love the colors of Fall! Actually, I can't think of any color that I dislike, but the Fall colors are probably my favorite. They are just plain gorgeous! I know that when I first started quilting, it was a real challenge to pick fabrics for any project. I look back now and recognize that I often played it safe and used what I knew would work - Fall colors. I've expanded my palette and feel much more confident using just about any color, but I still feel a sense of warmth and security when I seen those browns, golds, oranges, reds, etc.

Mmmm. I think I need to check that "Tub of Shame" and find a UFO in fall colors that needs to be finished. :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Want More Time!

Why is it that when you have lots of things to do, something that you really want to do (but don't need to do), comes up? I guess it's God's way of making sure you remember about priorities.  :-)
Oh well, I know what I need to do and maybe, just maybe, if things work out well and everything goes as planned, there will be time for fun. Keep your fingers crossed for me please. 

Ok, things that need to be done are getting done, slowly, but they are getting done. All but one of the homecoming sashes are done. The one that still needs done can't be done until I get the right  size of ribbon. ARRRGGGGG I thought I had everything! The only other embroidery that needs done is an order for two woven blankets, and hopefully those will be done tomorrow.

The ceter section of my design wall is done and I love it. The brown is a good color for me and I love the grid. I am super excited that things stick to it and I don't need to use pins any more. Sometimes it's the little things that bother me. I recognize that it really wasn't the end of the world to have to use pins on my design wall, but I was used to not havig to use them and then, bam! I needed to use them again. I'm sure many people would love to have the design wall that I had before, covered in felt, but it just did't work for me. As I said, it's the little things in life that make up the happiest. :-)

Stay tuned for information on my Blogtoberfest Giveaway!