Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Secret Santa Gift

One of my favorite quilting groups always does a Secret Santa swap in December.  I always like to sign-up for this activity because it is fun to make 'quilty' Christmas things for friends and also fun to be surprised by a gift from your secret friend.  This year my dear friend, Angela, had my name and she made the most beautiful  Christmas pillow.

The snowflake was made by hand tatting and then hand stitched to the beautiful poinsettia background.  If you look closely you will see tiny beads catching the light.  To me, it is like they are dancing around the pillow.  I just love it!  Angela was also generous in giving me a cute little bubble bath and lip balm, too ~ both will go to good use this holiday season.

I hope all of you are enjoying a very Happy Holiday Season!

Until next time . . .

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Having fun with Holiday Ornaments

I really love this time of year.  There's a fresh new excitement in the air as we get closer and closer to celebrating the holidays with family and friends.  Each year I like to find 2 or 3 holiday ornament patterns to decorate our Christmas tree as well as share with my family.  For me, it is as much fun making them as it is sharing them.

This year, I found a neat pattern for making Origami Stars.  There are many elaborate origami stars out there, but I decided that simple is better. 

I added little jingle bells to the top of each star for fun.

Then, I found a really cute pattern for crazy patch stocking ornaments in Jinny Beyer's Christmas book called Christmas with Jinny Beyer. 

This is an older book that I've had for years and not sure if it is available anymore.  It has a lot of neat ideas in it for holiday decorating from quilting to knitting as well as other cute ideas.  Jinny's crazy patch stocking ornament pattern is pretty small so I decided to enlarge mine by 25%.  This turned out to be a nice size.  And, a good size for adding Christmas goodies.  I also embellished mine with little holly leaf buttons. 

This weekend, I plan to put of our tree!


Until next time . . .

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals!

I love this time of year as it kicks off the holiday season here in the USA.  Today is known as Cyber Monday and online stores across the nation are offering great deals.  In addition to my regular holiday shopping for family and friends, I always like to check out some of my favorite online quilt shops for deals . . . not that I really 'need' anything!

Here's one of the first things I found today at a great price at Shabby Fabrics:

It's a cute little table runner kit for only $35!!  The kit includes everything you need to make the table runner, including a blue Micron pen.  I know I have tons to do, but my fingers are just itching to start this!  You can get to Shabby Fabrics web site by clicking HERE

The next place that has amazing Cyber Monday deals is Quilt in a Day.  The sales there are too numerous to mention so click HERE to check them out for yourself.  One of the best deals they are offering are 45 mm rotary cutter blades starting as low as $1.60 USD ~ this would be a great time to stock up for the year.  There are other amazing deals and it is worth the time to check them out!  REMEMBER:  This sale is only good through today, November 26th.

I also wanted to share Judy Niemeyer's sale on her website.  She is offering some of her beautiful patterns for only $3.00 USD!!!  What a savings!  To check out the deals Judy is offering click HERE
This is just one of Judy's beautiful patterns on sale ~ there are many to choose from.

Lastly is the sale at the Fat Quarter Shop.  Now through November 29th, they are offering 25% off your entire order.  Click HERE to get the promotion code.

Please know that I have no affiliation with any of the above.  They are just shops that I have ordered from in the past and have always gotten good service ~ so . . . . I wanted to share that with you today.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dutch Treat

A few months ago I started working on a quilt from the book titled Dutch Treat by Judy Garden.  The name of the quilt is Deft Delft and is made from reverse or recessed applique blocks that finish at 4-inches.  Some of them are very challenging and some not so much, but all are very enjoyable to stitch.  Here are some of the blocks I've finished in the last few weeks:

Cherries was pretty simple and then there was Napa Valley, which was challenging for me.

Napa Valley

When I first looked at Sunny Day, I thought it would be very challenging but once I started stitching it, I found that it wasn't difficult at all and a fun block to stitch.  I loved doing the embroidery work : )

Sunny Day
Here are two blocks that I really enjoyed stitching, first is Violets . . .

and second is Dandelion.
I think stitching any kind of flower design is one of my favorite things to do : ) 
Both of these were very easy and fun to stitch.  I really enjoyed the design of Singleton.
I've saved my most favorite block for last, and it's called Wooden Shoe
Wooden Shoe
There are several reasons why this one is my favorite so far . . . it has flowers and embroidery but probably the most important reason is that it is a symbol of my heritage ~ Dutch.  As I stitch these pretty little designs I am reminded of the pretty blue and white dishes my grandmother had as well as many vases and knick knacks around her home.  This is comforting to me.  And, this quilt, when finished, will always be treasured for this very reason.
Until next time . . .

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day!!

It's Election Day here in the United States of America!  I am very patriotic.  I love America.  Today's election is a very important one as it will change the course of history.  I can't stress enough how important it is to have your voice heard, America.  It's a freedom that I cherish. 

Please make sure you vote so your voice can be heard!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Garden Party

Well, it's not a real garden party but rather the name of the pattern I chose for my quilt using the Willow fabric by Riley Blake that I recently purchased at The Quilted Garden in Edwardsville, IL.  See my blog post below for more details about how I found this pretty fabric.

There have been many times that I've come across a fabric collection and immediately knew I couldn't live without it.  After falling in love with Willow, I had to find a quilt pattern that would show off this pretty collection in the best way.  The pattern I chose is called Garden Party by Quilted Garden Designs.  The ower of my LQS in Edwardsville, IL, also designs patterns and there are always many to choose from.

Once I got my fabric home, I immediately started pre-washing so I could start cutting out the shapes I needed.  This week I finished the first block:

In the pattern, there is a machine applique flower pattern for the middle of each block and while I liked that pattern, I thought it would be more fun to make tiny dresden plates for the middle.  I ordered the shapes for a 4-inch finished square from Paper Pieces here in Illinois and once I got them proceeded to start making my tiny dresden plates.  They are a lot of fun to make and because they are so small, really don't take too long to do.

This pattern is very unique in that once you get all 20 blocks together, they create an entirely different design than what you are seeing in one block.  In the next weeks, I'll show you what happens when you put several of these blocks together.

A little off topic but something I want to share is the latest picture of my granddaughter, Hannah.  She is the sweetest little girl and always has a ready smile.

Her expression here shows the way I feel when I find the perfect fabric and especially when I get the first block done : )

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cornucopia of Thanks Blocks

Getting back to my Cornucopia of Thanks BOM, I finished 2 blocks this month ~ the assigned block plus another as I'm making my quilt king sized.

Circle of Friends
Marti Michell, Designer
Cornucopia of Thanks, Pattern by Jennifer Chiaverini
I thought I would work ahead on this one and get some of the cornerstones and sashings done.  I'm really loving working with this pretty fall fabric line.  It is called Bittersweet by Nancy Halvorsen.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Love of Fabric

It comes as no surprise that quilters love fabric.  And although I have a large stash, I'm always tempted by the new fabrics that are introduced each season.  The other day I went to The Quilted Garden which is my local quilt shop and one of my favorites.  There were a few things I needed for a project I'm currently working on and before entering the shop had a talk with myself that I would only buy what I needed for this project. 

Well . . . . you know how it goes . . . . even though you have the very best intentions, it is just so hard to resist many of the beautiful fabric collections, especially when shops like The Quilted Garden have a way of displaying them that make them so appealing!

As I was at the cutting table with the batiks I needed for my project, I was visiting with Marggy about quilty things and as she started cutting, I noticed a very pretty, cheery group of fabrics by Riley Blake.

This line is called Willow, and I just love the softness of the yellows with the gray and cream, and because I recently redecorated my bedroom in these colors, I just knew I had to find a quilt pattern and take enough of these fabrics home with me to make a quilt!

Of course, I couldn't leave without getting some coordinating charm packs of this fabric line, too!

Sooo pretty!

I left the shop with not only the batik fabric I needed for my project but also a new quilt pattern and enough of the above fabric to make the quilt, which I'm happy to say that I've already started to cut and sew.

The moral of this story is that no matter how much I tell myself that I should only get what I need, there will always be something out there that I know I can't live without.

This little cartoon pretty much sums up me in a quilt shop

And when my husband is with me, I know he is probably thinking this very same thing . . . but never says it out loud.  If he did, however, I'm sure my response would be the same as the lady's in the cartoon : )

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Special Blocks from Special Friends

I belong to a Yahoo quilt group with some of the most special ladies I have ever known.  This group is appropriately named Friendship Block Swap.  We do various block swaps throughout the year as well as activities like a Secret Santa gift exchange, etc.  It's a very enjoyable group to belong to for many reasons.

One of the main reasons is the genuine friendship these ladies generously give.  Keep in mind that not to many of us have ever met face-to-face; yet, for me, many of them are my most special friends.  Every year we have a Signature Block Swap that I usually participate in.  I signed up this year prior to finding out that I needed to have cervical spine surgery.  Not knowing then how long I would need to recuperate, I thought I would have time to sew my blocks.  Unfortunately, I was wrong about that and had to drop out of the swap.

Last week I got a package in the mail, and I couldn't figure out what it was.  Then, I opened it and to my surprise were all of these beautiful quilt blocks signed by the maker.  Together they make a striking quilt.

This is just one example of how kind and caring these ladies are.  Even though I couldn't participate in the swap, they made blocks for me anyway and surprised me with them.  When I opened the package and saw what they had made for me, it brought tears to my eyes.  It's such a great feeling to know that in a world where there is so much fighting and hatred, that there is also kindness.  I am very fortunate to have found this group of ladies and have made many special friendships.  I am blessed.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Applique Progress

As fall has begun here in the USA, I've been doing more and more hand applique.  Several months ago, I started Sue Garman's Sarah's Revival pattern and decided it was time to get back to it.  This week I finished block 3.

It felt good to be working on these blocks again.  I had forgotten how enjoyable it is to just sit down and stitch without having to stop to add another piece.  With these Sarah's Revival blocks, all of the prep work is done in the beginning so once you start stitching you can just keep going ~ it's just so much fun!

I'm also working on another 2 fabric applique quilt, Judy Garden's Dutch Treat.  We are doing these blocks in my Yahoo group, Applique Boutique, as a block-a-week activity.  Every Monday 2 blocks are assigned and are due by Sunday.  This is a good way to challenge us and keep us motivated to get our blocks done.  We are all enjoying stitching these little blocks.  Here are the two blocks I completed this week:


As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of Kim McLean's patterns.  Every once in awhile I can't help myself and have to check out Glorious Applique to see what's new in both Kaffe Fassett fabrics and Kim's patterns.  Even though it is not a new pattern, I am really drawn to Stars and Sprigs mainly because it is a mix of both piecing and applique.  Well, this past week I broke down and purchased the pattern and so far have finished 3 star blocks and 1 applique block:
I'm having fun coordinating Kaffe Fassett's beautiful fabrics for the stars and sprigs and while I probably should be working on others things right now in my sewing studio, I just can't resist making a star or two every day!
Until next time . . .

Saturday, September 29, 2012


My friend, Deb, sends me funny things all the time and when I received this cartoon, I thought I would share it with my blog followers.  We all have our favorite places to hide our stash and over the years I've heard about some very strange and funny places.  I haven't tried the oven yet!  I hope this little cartoon brightens your day with a laugh like it did mine.

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Artist's Toolbox

I'm not sure if it is the time of year or what but lately I have been into taking classes and learning.  I've been wanting to learn more about art quilts so found another class at Quilt University called Artist's Toolbox.  This one is taught by Lyric Kincaid who has been featured in Quilting Arts magazine.  When going through the supply list for this class, I noticed that an optional supply is her book, Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises.

I decided to order the book as I think it will make the class even more interesting.  When it comes to quilting, I am a quilter who has to have a pattern.  I don't consider myself a 'creative' person and definitely not an artist.  Even so, I am hoping that this class will help me become more creative and at the very least help me to think outside the box!

I really enjoyed the last class I took at Quilt University and over the weekend finished my 2 fabric applique class project:

My next step is to layer and quilt.  I plan to do echo quilting which is easy and enjoyable : )

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quilt University Class

Although I am pretty experienced at needle-turn or hand applique, I am always wanting to improve my skills and learn new and better ways to do things.  With that in mind, I checked out Quilt University and found a class on 2 fabric applique quilts taught by Nancy Chong.  Nancy has an outstanding reputation as being a very thorough, excellent teacher.  Even though the class started shortly before we left for vacation, I signed up for it anyway and after getting home from vacation this past Thursday, decided to start.

Nancy gives you a choice of 3 different patterns to use and I chose the candles pattern thinking that it would be a nice wall hanging during the holiday season.  For 2 fabric applique quilts, you choose a light and dark fabric that complement each other.  Here are the fabrics I chose:

You have the choice of using either the dark or the light as your foreground fabric.  I wanted the light for the background so proceeded to trace my design on the dark fabric using Transdoodle transfer paper.  I can't say enough for this product.  You place the Transdoodle paper between your pattern and your fabric.  I used a ball point stylus to trace over the lines of the pattern and was very happy with the results as the lines are crisp and easy to see:

It looks a little weird at this point but not to worry ~ the light fabric is behind the dark!

Afer tracing the design you pin and baste on the dark fabric.  Then, you cut on the traced line.  I made dash marks about 3/16 inch from the edge as a guide for turning.  I've been stitching on this project each evening while watching TV and here's my progress so far:

I'm really enjoying this process and have learned a lot from Nancy's class.  This is the prelude to taking the plung and making a king sized Hawaiian quilt.  Luckily, Nancy is offering a class on 'How to make a Hawaiian Quilt' in January and, for me, that will be the perfect time to start.

I have to say that I had a wonderful vacation and saw many beautiful areas from the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the Black Hills of South Dakota.  After 3 weeks of traveling it feels so good to be home and it really is true that there's no place like home.

Until next time  . . .

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On Vacation

On August 21st, my husband, 2 dogs and I left for a long vacation.  The first leg of our vacation lead us to Estes Park, Colorado, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  If you ever get the chance to visit here, do it!  Beauty surrounds you from all areas and there are many things do do. 

The town of Estes Park is filled with little bridges like this one that go over beautiful streams, and all of this surrounds a quaint downtown area full of different gift shops and restaurant.  I found some neat little items in various shops to take home and my husband and I hiked all over the place in the 2 days we stayed.

We asked another tourist to snap a picture of us together by this beautiful stream in a park-like setting.  All in all it was a great trip!

The next leg of our journey took us to Gillette, Wyoming where we had made plans to spend some time with our grandson.  Prior to arriving in Gillette, I had to stop at the Fig Leaf Quilt Shop in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  This is a unique shop in that a couple owns it, and the husband has a furniture store while the wife has the quilt shop all in one building.  When you walk in, you first see beautiful furniture settings and then you meander back to the shop, which is huge!  Lots and lots of tempting fabrics, quilts, patterns and notions.  I left with lots of goodies!  The Fig Leaf Quilt Shop was featured in Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine Spring/Summer issue.  You can also visit their website by clicking HERE  They have a very nice web site and also an online store.

Spending time with grandchildren is always fun and this time was no exception.  I just wish I had the energy of a 14-year-old but think I did pretty good keeping up with him!

 Of course I also had to check out the quilt shop in Gillette, Wyoming, called The Quilt Nook.  They don't have a web site that I know of but the shop was very nice with over 5,000 bolts of fabrics so I didn't leave empty handed : D

The next leg of our journey and where we currently are is in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  This is another beautiful place and so far we have seen the Crazy Horse Monument. 

The Crazy Horse Monument is still in progress and when finished will look like this: 

 We've also seen the Mt. Rushmore Memorial.  Since I'm originally from South Dakota, I've seen this before but my husband has not.  Every time I see it, I'm in awe of the talent it took to create such a beautiful work. 

Today we are going to go on the scenic Tramway here in Keystone, South Dakota.  It takes you to the top of a mountain range where you can have a bite to eat and then you have your choice of sliding down a 2,000 foot slide or taking the Tramway down.  The slide looks like a lot of fun but after all of the surgery I've recently had, I think I better take the Tramway.

While we've been traveling, I've been stitching on my Dutch Treat blocks and have made good progress.  Each morning and evening in our hotel room, I work on them while relaxing.

On Monday we are headed to my hometown of Platte, South Dakota to visit friends and relatives.  After a few days in Platte we will finally be headed back home to Glen Carbon, Illinois, and I have to say that I am anxious to get back home and back to my regular schedule.

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jinny Beyer ~ The Queen of Color

It seems like every time I get excited about starting a new quilt, I'm left with deciding on what color theme or fabric style I want to use.  Sometimes I choose really great colors that go together beautifully and other times, even though I think it will turn out great, it doesn't.  I think we've all seem quilts that really sing with color and texture are are . . .  well, just vibrant!  Then we may see a quilt that is beautifully made but lacks something.  I call this the 'Wow Effect.'

So how do we go about choosing the fabrics that will make our quilts sing?  One tool that I've recently started using is Jinny Beyer's Portable Palette.

This tool has really helped me decide on what fabrics I want to use together.  I can play with colors at home, decide on a theme I like, and then take the Portable Palate with me when I go fabric shopping.  I consider Jinny Beyer to be the 'queen of color' and don't think I have ever seen a quilt that Jinny has made that didn't have the 'Wow Effect.'  When Jinny teaches her color confidence class, she has her students use her portable palate.  Jinny just came out with an instructional video on her web site that shows you exactly how to use her portable palette.

I found this video to be very helpful, and it is fun to do the exercises that Jinny shares on it. For me, it was well worth the time it takes to watch.

I have been an admirer of Jinny Beyer for years and many times have referred to her as "My Quilting Hero."  I hope this video will inspire you and that you will play around with different colors in your fabric stash to create your next quilting project.

Until next time . . .


Friday, August 3, 2012

Quilt in a Day Rulers & Progress on Quilts

It's hard to believe that we are in the final month of summer already here in the USA!  I know that a big part of my summer was spent recuperating from surgery.  Anyway, I am back to sewing 100% and have really been busy.  Before going into my progress on various projects, I wanted to take some time to talk about Eleanor Burn's and her quick and easy techniques using her specialty rulers.

One of my favorite techniques of Eleanor's is making my flying geese units using her flying geese rulers.  At first when I read and saw her way of making flying geese units, I was a bit skeptical but then I tried it and was so pleased with the results.  Instead of me showing you how quick and easy these rulers work, click HERE to view the video and have Eleanor herself teach you.

I don't have any affiliation with Quilt in a Day or Eleanor Burns.  I just wanted to share this technique of hers with you.  I have learned a lot from Eleanor's instruction, and I think you will too : )

Lately, I have been a busy bee working on various quilt projects.  I've been spending a lot of time working on my Cornucopia of Thanks quilt blocks and cornerstones.  I've decided to make my quilt king sized so adding 4 blocks of my choosing.  This week I completed one of the four. 

This one is called Turley's Inn and was designed by Marti Michell for Patchwork Party this past year.

I think this one will fit in well with the other blocks in the quilt.

I also finished the BOM for August called Prosperity.  This one looks way harder than it really is, and I was surprised at how fast I got it done.

I am really enjoying working on this quilt as a BOM.  This BOM is a group project that we are doing in my SBS & Other Elm Creek Quilts Yahoo group.  If you are interested in joining in on the fun, you can do so very easily by clicking this icon:

Click to join SBS-and-OtherElmCreekQuilts

Click to join SBS-and-OtherElmCreekQuilts

We are also doing the Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt together.  Each month we announce a new block challenge and are having fun watching each other's and our own progress as our quilt grows.

Here are a 2 more of the blocks for this month.  I only have 2 more to finish before the 15th.

Bow Tie

I hope all of you are having a great week and that you all get some time just for you : )

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A New Tablerunner

In the last week, my husband and I have been doing some redecorating in various rooms of our home.  Every once in awhile it's nice to put some fresh new paint on the walls, change out the window treatments, etc. 

So once the walls started coming alive, I decided that I needed something new and pretty for my kitchen table and started searching my stash for fabrics that would coordinate with my kitchen window treatments.  My search took me to Bittersweet by Nancy Halvorsen.  This fabric was originally purchased for my Cornucopia of Thanks quilt.  Even so, I couldn't resist using it because it matched my kitchen colors perfectly.  I found a pattern in my pattern drawer from Atkinson Designs and put together this easy and fun to sew tablerunner:
I think I am going to make some other cute kitchen accessories with this fabric too like potholders and maybe use as a border for some tea towels.  My tablerunner needs to be quilted and bound, and I will do that today.  It really cheers up my table!
I will have to buy some more of the Bittersweet fabric so I will have enough to finish my Cornucopia of Thanks blocks but that's okay because fabric shopping is definitely high on the list of my favorite things to do : )
Wishing all of you a great day and hope that you get a little free time to sew.

Until next time . . .