Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Canning Jars

Another Canning Jar block - only this one was a gift! Our Sew Vintage group has been working our way into Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book, and this was the first block we made.  But the group decided to make 6" blocks, in blue, to give as a thank you gift to Cindy, our group facilitator. She bakes treats for us every month, leads the conversation, and challenges us to try new techniques.  And she takes the time to keep the group fun, interesting, and creative. Thank you Cindy!
There were 11 of us at the party, and Cindy added her own block to make an even dozen. They look great together. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Design Wall Monday: Farmhouse Stars progress

Sunday morning sewing brought me a step further on Farmhouse Stars.  One star out of 9 is complete. I decided to finish 4 blocks and make one of the stars just to make sure I was doing things correctly.  All of the pieces are laid out for the next 32 blocks (8 stars) and ready to sew the second round of color.  20 of them are here on my cutting board, and the other 12 are on my ironing board. 

This is a Simple Whatnots pattern by Kim Diehl.  I love the look, but it is taking me forever to finish it.  And I've promised myself that I can't start a new project until this top is done. Actually I shouldn't start anything new until I finish SOMETHING!  I realized yesterday that except for pillowcases, I haven't finished anything in over a month.  

Check out what other Design Walls hold:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Saturday, December 9, 2017

On Ringo Lake

The new mystery quilt from Bonnie Hunter is called On Ringo Lake. The color scheme really is pretty with coral, aqua, dark brown, and neutrals. I've been digging in my stash and doing a little shopping to collect the fabrics even though I am not starting this mystery yet.  My stash had almost no corals, cut I did have a couple of aqua scraps, and lots of neutrals. I found some perfect ones at my local quilt shop and I picked up more on last week's Iowa road trip. I have a couple of dark browns to pull from my stash yet, but otherwise I think I have what I need.
So far I've only saved and printed the introduction and first 3 clues.  I had promised myself that I couldn't start this until I get one more Simple Whatnots mini quilt finished. And I'm still working on that. If you are interested in the mystery quilt, here is the link to Bonnie's blog page where she will post everything. Once the last clue has been released, then she takes down the access to the free pattern and puts it into her online store for a price. But for now, it's FREE!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Lucky gal

Last Saturday our guild held its annual Christmas Party. We met at a local restaurant for lunch and games and prizes. It was great fun.
The committee members made the snowman mug rugs for each of us. So very cute!!  And I won a pile of 18 fat quarters in a game of Right-Left-Center.  I'm a lucky gal. One aqua one went directly into my stack for the newest Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, which I hope to work on over the next few weeks. I've been collecting coral, aqua, and neutrals from my stash and from shopping. Oops! And a dark brown, which I'm sure I have in my stash. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


I've been missing from my blog for a week, and it was a good week.  On Sunday morning I left with a friend to drive 7 hours east to Iowa to visit a dear friend who moved there this past summer. Another girlfriend had planned to go too but was sick and couldn't go. We missed having her with us.

We went to a couple of quilt shops and some other interesting places in Marion and Cedar Rapids. Had lunch on Tuesday at Ramsey's Bistro - YUM! Went to the Amana Colonies. Attended a Lindsey Stirling concert. And relaxed with our feet up and a glass of wine in her living room. It was wonderful to just have time to talk and catch up.  Another road trip needs to happen in the spring.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Simple Whatnots

There isn't a lot to show yet for Farmhouse Stars (Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots), but at least I've begun to make a little progress.  There will be 34 more of these blocks. So far I have made 25 of the upper sections with the 3 brown squares.  All of the pieces for all of the blocks are cut and ready.
This was the Simple Whatnots project that I've been most excited about in this series. I love the look of this one.  Like all of Kim Diehl's patterns, this one has a zillion little pieces.  But results are worth it. 
I don't anticipate getting much more of this done right away because it's going to be a busy week.  We have a wedding to attend Saturday and then Sunday morning I'm leaving with 2 girlfriends to drive to Iowa to visit a friend who moved in August.  We're really looking forward to that road trip and seeing a dear friend that we miss.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Saturday Sampler progress

Chasing Fireflies - isn't that a fun name for a block?  This is the second block in our latest Saturday Sampler project which is called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  The first block was Lucky Ladybug. 
We chose our own fabrics this time and were encouraged to "shop our stash". Since my stash has a LOT of black and white prints and a LOT of batiks, those were my choices for this one. Each month we do 2 variations of the block.  I've decided that each month I'll try to make one version a darker one and the other a lighter version. Some of the prints have a little black on white, and others are reversed with just a little white on the black.  And I'll switch up the batik colors. This may be a crazy looking quilt.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Distractions abound

Again I've been distracted by something . . .
I enjoy reading quilting blogs and follow a couple of online quilting groups on Facebook.  And I'm constantly seeing things that I want to make. I bought this book and the paper templates months ago, but just pulled it out this past week. I had done the pink center, the white and a few of the green sections during the week. And then I stopped into The Pin Cushion on Small Business Saturday. Cindy was doing a demo on this very thing!! It was so timely!  I've done some English Paper Piecing hexies and diamonds, and this shape is fun too. The book offers some beautiful layout options.
These scraps are out of my bin of (mostly) Civil War reproductions. I've been using them to make the tiny blocks for the Circa 2016 Temecula project. Only a few blocks to go there and then I can put the quilt together. And now I have something else fun to use those fabrics in. I have no idea how many of these I'll make. But at least ONE!

I must admit that I'm having a "missing mojo" problem lately.  My sewing room is in the basement, and doing the stairs bothers my Achilles tendon. Plus I've been working more hours each week and am out of mental energy. And I'm feeling a little bogged down by unfinished projects again,  especially because I keep seeing new things I want to start.  My head is spinning - too many projects and not enough time.

Check out Design Wall Monday at:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


I've had to make friends with my seam ripper again. There were actually 2 of these blocks put together wrong.  But it was an easy fix.  There are now 30 blocks, which works out to be a top 5 blocks wide by 6 blocks long.  Not quite big enough for anything more than a small lap quilt. So I'm toying with new layout ideas or borders.  Any ideas would be very welcome!

This is how a UFO is born!  It was looking so promising when I had just a few blocks done. Now it's on hold. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Books and pillowcases go together

Something to play with, something to wear, and something to read . . . that has become my motto for buying Christmas gifts for the 5 grandchildren.  This year I decided they each needed a pillowcase with the same theme as the book the receive.  A Friday afternoon off, and those pillowcases are ready to go.
For 2 year old Jack, I found a book about a train, and it has a little toy train that he can run through the grooves on every page.  His pillowcase has train cars floating all over.

Jonah is 4 and he is getting Jan Brett's book The Hat.  And while searching online for other things I came across this fabric with woodland creatures - wearing knit hats just like in the book.  What a lucky find!

Mason's tastes are running toward a fascination with dragons now that he is 6.  The book has all kinds of dragon stories, maps, and secret flaps hiding more information. I've hunted high and low for dragon fabric, and finally found some online.  I love that the red dragon is almost a perfect match to the color of the book cover.

And both girls - 5 year old Sophia and 4 year old Olivia - are getting Bambi.  The Bambi fabric was a find at Missouri Star Quilt Company this summer.  And the books have beautiful illustrations, similar to my vintage childhood Bambi book. 

Check out what other quilters are working on: Design Wall Monday at http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/2017/11/design-wall-monday-november-20-2017.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Selvages are fun

Aren't these selvages unique? More and more often it seems like the manufacturers are adding fun design to their selvages.
I ordered 3 pieces of yardage recently to make special pillowcases to go with the books I've bought for the grandkids for Christmas.  It was really hard to find dragon fabric to go with Mason's dragon book.  But eventually I did find just want I wanted online for a couple of them.  Notice the flame shapes on the dragon fabric. The train fabric looks like trucks on the selvage rather than trains.
Now I need to go shopping locally to find the perfect fabrics to blend in for the pillowcase cuffs.  When I get them done I'll show them off with the companion books. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Design Wall Monday

An origami flower that I made awhile ago is set to become "something" as a gift, but I'm just not sold on the background fabric I've chosen for this.  I may need to rethink that background before I hand stitch this down. Possibly a solid background would work better.
Check out Design Wall Monday for some inspiration from other quilters - http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 10, 2017

A little progress

If I only get 2 blocks a day finished, it will take forever to finish this Christmas quilt. But a little progress is still progress.  I used the light strips with a solid red or green, and I like how that is working out.  So, I have 12 blocks made and hopefully can make another 16. 
No sewing today because I'm going out for lunch with my older daughter and then doing some shopping.  We rarely get to spend time together, just the two of us, and I'm so looking forward to it. And this evening my husband and I have a "date night" - SDSU Jackrabbit basketball doubleheader. Life is good!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder

In reality, this is an ugly little crazy quilt. The fabrics are scraps of old (1960s) silky drapery fabrics. The colors and prints are ugly. Polka dot draperies - really?  The batting shrunk more than the top, so the top is very wrinkly. The back is an equally ugly pink silky drapery fabric, and it's bound with wide black bias tape.
But - it has it's good points too.  The fabrics all came from my aunt's custom drapery business. She shared leftovers with my mom from the custom drapes and slipcovers she made, and my mom used them in quilts and even clothes. Waste not, want not!! And I spent lots of summers living with that aunt, babysitting or being her fetch and carry girl when she installed draperies. She was my favorite aunt.  
Like any good crazy quilt, this one has hand embroidery over all of the seams.  The thread is kind of pink, but that is OK. And best yet, my mom helped me make this quilt in 1969, when I was in 8th or 9th grade. I had totally forgotten this little quilt until I found it in the bottom of a packing box recently.  Actually I had no idea that my mother had even kept this.  But it was carefully folded up in a box with some other "family treasures" that has been unopened - since 1991 when my mother died. 
Since this probably qualifies as my first quilt, I have a whole new appreciation for it. It's still ugly, but I like it anyway.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What is the name of this block?

Does anyone know the name of this block? I love the blending of a 4-patch and a half log cabin.
I work from home, which has it's pros and cons.  Today I'm counting a pro - because while I waited for a huge database to do it's weekly synchronization I went downstairs to sew.  I figured I had at least an hour, so I cut and sewed 2 more of these Christmas blocks.  And I cut some pieces to do a couple of reverse blocks.  This jelly roll has some light strips too, so I'm going to pair those up with a red or green solid.  And hopefully this afternoon when I finish today's invoices I can go back down and sew a few more of these.
Check out what others are working on at Linky Tuesday: http://www.conniekresin.com/2017/11/linky-party-tuesday-november-7th.html

Monday, November 6, 2017

Decorating the dungeon

We moved into this house almost 12 years ago, and my husband promised me nice bookcases in the basement family room from the beginning.  The family room is a huge, long room that I often refer to as "the dungeon".  At one end is the pool table and a comfy seating area. But the other end has my husband's office.  Notice the big putting green on the floor?
Today my bookbases were delivered and set up.  I think I've been more than patient, don't you.  And this afternoon we spent some time unpacking some of the things that will go on the new shelves.  

Notice the train across the top and in the top center shelf?  These are actually Jim Beam bottles. My dad was a big collector and my husband inherited the collection in 1990 when my dad passed away. But we've never had a place to show them off.  There are 8 more pieces that make up another train, but these are the ones we decided to showcase.  

It will take me some time to decide what else will end up in these bookcases, but that is half the fun. The can of Pledge will go away and be replaced with something more decorative and interesting. But in the meantime this goes a long way to make this room much less like a dungeon.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Guild projects

Heartland Quilters Guild loves a good charity project. This afternoon we presented 54 fabric microwave hot pad bowls to a wonderful local fundraiser. The Empty Bowl luncheon has been a successful program to raise money to feed the hungry. People come to the luncheon and buy soup in a bowl they get to keep, plus they can also purchase a microwave bowl shaped hot pad.  The local high school art students make most of the pottery bowls.  The culinary program at Mitchell Technical Institute makes the bread. And for the past 2 years our guild has made and donated the microwave hot pads that are shaped perfectly to hold a bowl. 

In the photo, our president Gwen and secretary Evelyn present the hot pads to Mrs Shannon, the art teachers whose students make the pottery bowls. What a positive experience for everyone involved.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Oh look - a squirrel

I'm like a dog on a leash, walking along the path - when suddenly it sees a squirrel in the woods. And it's off chasing that squirrel.  My squirrel today was the leftover jelly roll laying on my cutting table. I dug into it for one of the Christmas stockings, and it was calling to me. Too cute to just put into the Christmas drawer.  I bought the jelly roll (Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints) at Missouri Star Quilt Co when I was there in August, and then a friend gave me some 2.5" squares from the same line. I used the squares, plus some of the jelly roll in the first stocking. 

The quilt block was something I saw online this week and have no idea what it's called.  No sizes were given either, so I just did the math for a 12" finished block and an 8" finished block. The Christmas blocks are the 8".  And the blue and white block below is a 12" block.  I'm thinking the 12" block may be perfect for a future Quilt of Valor.  I dug into the scraps for this one.  It is such an easy block - made with 4-patches, and half log cabins.  I love it - but I also need to finish those darn Christmas stockings before I get too carried away. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Short bursts of energy

It seems like lately I just haven't had many chances to spend time in my sewing room. More hours at work and other events just take precedence sometimes.  I've been procrastinating with the Christmas stockings that I need to make.  Yesterday afternoon was finally my time!
Two of the stocking bodies are pieced and quilted and ready for their cuffs - after I embroider some names on them.  A third stocking has the front quilted, and it's pinned to the back. Maybe this afternoon I'll get back down there for long enough to put that one together. Then I still have one more to make before setting up that embroidery module on my machine and tackling the names.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Abiding Faith

My design wall Monday project includes moving some quilts around in my house.  What's on your design wall today?  Check out others at: http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

This little finish has me quite frustrated. It's Abiding Faith, another beautiful mini by Kim Diehl, and I got it quilted and bound over the weekend, but it isn't going to be a favorite - because of the rippled borders. I measured over and over again and everything was fitting perfectly, until I quilted it. Obviously my quilting stretched the borders, or maybe the grid quilting in the center pulled it too much.  Either way, 2 of those borders wave a lot.  The lantern is actually sitting on the worst one to hold it down. 
So it's now folded and tucked into the painted sewing machine drawer that holds many of my Kim Diehl mini quilts. It looks fine there. 
Another Sunday afternoon project was using up more of the apples my cousin brought me from Minnesota.  I haven't made an apple pie in years, but this turned out really yummy.

And while I was moving quilts around I thought I would show you another Kim Diehl mini quilt.  This is one of my favorites and from this year's Simple Whatnots series.  It makes the house look so cozy and welcoming. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017


I've had all spring and summer to make the 4 Christmas stockings I need for my second daughter's family.  But here it is almost November and I'm just starting to put some ideas together. Do you procrastinate like this too?  The 2.5" squares need to be rearranged yet, but I think this will be the foundation of the first stocking front.

Friday, October 27, 2017

An old denim quilt

This is a quilt that I made many years ago. In fact it is probably 20 years old. My kids used it to snuggle on our sofa, we took it to softball games to sit on, and it has been washed a lot.  Denim with lots of pockets and decorative sections, odds and ends of plain cotton, and a plaid flannel back - this lap quilt weighs a ton. And it's tied, not quilted.  

This quilt has spent the last few years just folded up in a spare bedroom on a bench.  But yesterday I gave it to my husband to keep in the back seat of his pick up, as part of his winter weather gear.  I got a kick out of looking at the blue jean sections, and remember my oldest daughter wearing the jeans with the fancy pocket in this picture. She was pretty upset when the jeans wore out, but loved seeing this pocket in the quilt. Definitely some 90s fashion statements living on in a quilt.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


This little wall hanging is a mash-up of 2 different projects. The sewing machine block on the top is from Lori Holt's new book Spelling Bee.  Our sew vintage group is using the block this month as our "challenge".  The spool blocks on the bottom were from a past sew vintage group swap. I hadn't decided what I wanted to do with them yet and this seemed like a good combination.
Does it need some side borders?  I'm just not sure yet how I want to finish it.  Check out Linky Tuesday at: http://www.conniekresin.com/2017/10/linky-tuesday-october-24th.html

Monday, October 23, 2017

Family picture day

We got really lucky with family photos yesterday, in terms of weather in particular. Saturday was cold and very windy, with spits of rain. Sunday (while pictures were being taken outdoors) was gorgeous, but by mid-afternoon the wind was coming up. And today the wind is howling.  The photographer chose Rotary Park in Sioux Falls and it was a beautiful spot.
When we finished with pictures the kids got to play on the playground. The girls were having fun on these swinging steps but were willing to stop for a picture. The boys must have felt that they had cooperated enough for a camera already.

I snapped this picture of my husband in the parking lot when we were done. He was just waiting patiently.  The girls and I did a "swap" - I brought bags of apples for both, Jerilyn had bags of garden potatoes for us and for Laura, and Laura had huge pumpkins for Jerilyn's kids.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Viewing your hometown through a visitor's eye

We had company from out of state yesterday and spent part of the afternoon visiting our most famous local attraction - the Corn Palace. Folks around here often joke about it being the world's largest bird feeder, as the outside is decorated each year with mural made of corn and local grasses.

I always enjoy seeing the murals change each fall.  For decades the murals were designed by noted Native American artist Oscar Howe. But in recent years, other talented local artists have designed them. The outdoor murals are laid out much like a paint-by-number picture. A local farmer grows the 12 colors of corn especially for this display. Each ear of corn is split in half lengthwise, and nailed up onto the board.

This year's theme is South Dakota Weather. So far my favorite picture is on the front of the building, with lightning striking all around a country church. And we've noticed that the green corn is especially prominent this year.

Inside The Corn Palace - it's a city auditorium, with more murals. We watch high school and college basketball in there. We've gone to plays and concerts in there. We've attended the circus in there. They even have rodeo bull riding events.  And now the hallways have become a wonderful museum with photos from over 100 years of murals and entertainment events.  And there are some educational displays about corn for both adults and children. And it's all FREE to explore!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New carpet

Yesterday morning we had new carpet installed in our family room.  It looks great, but now it makes the carpet in the nearby rooms and hallway look awful.  I briefly considered hard wood instead, but in this room I really like the cozy feel of carpet. Especially in the winter. We spend most of our time in this room.
My husband and I had emptied the room of furniture (and stuff) on Saturday before he left for a business trip early Sunday morning. The only thing we couldn't move was the big oak entertainment center, but the store had assured me that for a small extra charge the installers (plural) would move that for us. Yay! So when the lone installer showed up I was very worried that we would have to reschedule.  But the guy assured me that with my help he could move it. And he was right, but it wasn't easy. 
Four hours later the old carpet was removed and the new was installed.  After some vigorous vacuuming, I decided to just move back a couple of small furniture items. Sofa sections just don't belong in the kitchen.  Push, pull - then rest and repeat.  It took me over 2 hours but all of the furniture is back in the room. And my back was killing me. The only thing left to do is figure out what I have plugged in wrong on our TV system (too complicated) because we have no sound. Oh, and I need to put back the tchotchkes and books on the shelves in the entertainment center. Some purging will happen as I do that.
My husband will be so impressed - maybe - that his overweight, out-of-shape 63 year old wife managed to do this all by myself.  I just hope he doesn't expect that kind of physical labor all the time.  This was motivated purely by the desire to have my home back to normal.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Age - cat approved

My 2016 Saturday Sampler is done, on the bed, and evidently cat approved.  I finished the binding while watching the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday.
Usually Sammy hangs out under my desk when I'm working in the mornings, but Monday he didn't show up.  He seems a bit stressed because the family room furniture is all pushed into other rooms in preparation for carpet installation today. So our bedroom is one of the only safe places he can find right now and he has been spending a lot of time curled up in the middle of our bed. I'll just shut the door to the bedroom when the installers arrive so he feels secure. He is an old (16), 20 pound "fraidy cat".  
A New Age, made of over dyed muslin was a challenging project. The blocks went together easily each month but I had a couple of problems getting that pieced border correct. My mistakes were simple to correct however and then I added that last butterfly print border to make it long enough for a nice drop on each side. So it's a huge quilt.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Starting a new Saturday Sampler

The new Saturday Sampler program began yesterday.  It's called Summer Watermelon Sampler.  Nothing about this one makes me think of watermelons or summer however. Even though I've been quilting for more than 30 years, I feel that programs like Saturday Sampler are a wonderful learning opportunity, plus the bonus of a social activity.  New techniques, and reinforcing techniques I already knew - all part of the learning.  And the show 'n tell every month is just plain inspiring!
Can you tell that I love going to Saturday Sampler?  Here are my finished blocks for this month. Both blocks are made with the same pieces, but the corner sections are turned in block #2 and the fabrics are in different locations.  Plus I did a little switching in block #2 to increase the contrast. 
These came entirely from my stash.  The plan for now is to use scrappy black and whites, with bright batiks, all of which I should be able to pull from the stash and/or the scrap bins.  I may even make another set using other scraps because these were really simple blocks to make and God knows there are plenty of scraps to use up.

Check out Design Wall Monday at:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ride With the Wind

It needs a label yet, but otherwise the wall hanging is done.  I think it will be called "Ride With the Wind".  The bright multi-colored thread does show up nicely, but doesn't over power the piece.  My quilting lines are sufficiently random with soft waves all across, hopefully suggesting the prairie wind.  The green and red section is actually a Row By Row from this summer's road trip through Iowa with my husband. The shop in Adel, Iowa had designed this row and I immediately had a plan to make a wall hanging with it. The mottled black looks like of like asphalt.  Considering it was a "design as you sew" kind of project, I like how it turned out.