Saturday, October 20, 2018

Playing in the scraps

I wimped out this morning and just couldn't bear the idea of sitting outside in 40 degree weather to watch my 7 year old grandson play flag football.  I know - I'm a terrible grandmother.

However, after the "good grandparent" left the house to drive to the game, and I put in a load of laundry, and emptied the dishwasher . . . then I figured I had a little time to spare for my sewing room.  I was planning to clean off the cutting table and do a little organizing - not sew.

While cleaning I was  watching and listening to last night's Quilt Cam (Bonnie Hunter/Quiltville) and Bonnie was talking about her Chains and Hourglass block in the summer issue of Quiltmaker magazine.  She was doing hers in Halloween fabrics with black and orange paired with a neutral background. In the magazine the photos were just 2 fabrics, a light and a dark. The block was kind of boring (my opinion). But with the Halloween fabrics this block really came alive.  And I just HAD to dig into the drawer full of hoarded Halloween fabrics to see what I have.

Next thing I knew, there were 2 blocks made and a mess on my cutting table again.  I think 2 more blocks added to these would make a nice little table topper.

If you are interested in Bonnie's archive of Quilt Cam videos full of tips, tricks, and show n tell - go to her blog:  She has links for Quilt Cam archives, tons of wonderful free patterns, and much more.  And if you follow her blog, this winter's Mystery Quilt will begin soon. Colors and yardage will be revealed around Halloween, with the first clue released as always on Black Friday.   Check out other scrappy projects at:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Small Talk is finished

Because it's only 15" square, this mini quilt packed a lot of detail into a very small space.  There are 48 Flying Geese blocks - each one finishing at 1" by 2".  Small Talk is a Kim Diehl Simple Whatknots pattern.  I swapped out 2 brown fabrics with 3 greens, and I like the color combo much better.

This little thing was so NOT SQUARE when I finished putting it together yesterday!  Because the pieces all start out so small I double checked my measurements before sewing.  So my problem must have been inconsistent seam allowances and too much pressing.  Very frustrating!! 

Second issue with Small Talk is that I used a thread for quilting that was too light in color.  I think a darker beige would have looked better.  I'm seriously considering a quick tea dye for this project to tone down that pale thread.  The quilting itself is very simple - straight lines every 2 inches, with a serpentine line in between them.

Ironically it is now much closer to square since it's quilted and bound. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Small Talk

Since I'm in the mood for red and green, I pulled out a Kim Diehl pattern for my next task.  This is Small Talk, one of the Simple Whatknots patterns from this year.  Our class group did this one a couple of months ago, but I've fallen behind so wasn't done.  And I'm really glad I did fall behind because the pattern called for reds and brown, but one of the class did hers with greens substituted for the brown.  It looked wonderful and Christmas-y.  

So I decided to do the same and dug into the leftovers from previous Simple Whatknots looking for suitable greens.  I found some green that will work nicely, plus one narrow strip of  green from our newest fabrics. 

My pieces are cut and I have 2 of the 4 pinwheel blocks sewn.  These pinwheels are only 4.5" square, so you can get an idea of just how small this quilt will be when finished. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Design Wall Monday - a Cardinal Christmas finish

It's always exciting to ME when I finish something, but the cat is obviously not impressed.  He was so deep into his afternoon nap that he didn't even look up when I laid this out on the floor next to him.  I finished the binding finally yesterday while watching the Vikings game. 

This UFO was a kit I purchased called House Warming Party.  I had the pieced blocks all done when it got set aside. Luckily I had all of the parts and the pattern in the project box together.  I'm calling this Cardinal Christmas. 

The back is a rich deep green similar to the narrow border, and the binding is a red/green/cream plaid.  And that piano key border?  It's a cheater fabric so it was really fast to add.  This photo is close to the correct colors.  The picture of the whole quilt above looks a bit washed out due to the light in the room yesterday - reflections of the snow and grey sky outside. 

  Check out more Design Wall Monday posts.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A new Saturday Sampler starts

I just never get tired of participating in the Saturday Sampler BOM programs at The Pin Cushion. It’s all fun - the show n tell each month as well as working on a new project, often something outside of my comfort zone.  

The new one started last month and we needed to choose a dark, a light, and an accent. The aqua fabric is new but the black and the fushia came out of the stash.  The fushia batik is my accent color in this grouping of fabrics.  The clue we got last month was all cutting and the clue we got today was sewing strip sets.  Mine are done!  In fact it was so quick and easy that I’m working on a second version with Halloween fabrics.  The black is new but the other 2 fabrics came from the stash.  The green is my accent in this case, and my strip sets are all done for this version too.  And now I have to wait a whole month to get the next clue.

Do you save selvages?  I have for years and have made a few little projects using them.  More and more often these days the selvages has some fun design.  This one has colorful witch hats instead of boring little dots.  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Guess what?

Can you guess what I'm going to make with this cute Halloween border print?

It's interesting how a photo of fabric or yarn can look so different depending on the angle, or where you take it.  The top photo is pretty close to the right colors.  But the photo below was taken just a couple of minutes earlier from a different angle and in a different location.  Can you tell by the lighting that today is another grey, dreary, cold day? I'm beginning to think we'll never see sunshine again.  Maybe I shouldn't be playing with grey fabric until the sun is shining.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

RSC18 - Squared Away

I've really enjoyed making each of the 10 blocks for this year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge, Squared Away.  Check out these 2 blogs for more information including the block tutorials:  and  . These 2 ladies have done a great job on this project this year, even offering different sizes of blocks to choose from.

Block 9, called Queen Charlotte's Crown (from the 1930s), is the last set I needed to make to complete my 30 blocks.  Somehow I forgot to make these in September.  The color for September was dark blue, and my first block was from a really rich looking dark blue. But then I got sidetracked - by teal.   It's not like there weren't plenty of dark blue scraps to choose from, but both of these teal fabrics just spoke to me. So I used them.  This afternoon after work I plan to lay the 30 blocks out on my floor and figure out how I want this quilt to look. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Saturday Sampler choices

The Pin Cushion had just the perfect aqua for my Saturday Sampler.  I knew they would.  The royal blue was OK, but I like this aqua much better.  We needed a dark, a light, and a contrasting fabric.  Our first clue was merely cutting to prep for piecing.  On this coming Saturday we'll get the first of the piecing clues for the mystery quilt.  Saturday Sampler is one of my favorite "quilt-y" activities.  I feel like I learn something new each year, even thought I've been quilting for nearly 40 years.

And when I was digging around my stash looking for this black print, I also found a lime green Halloween print that would be fun for this project.  I pulled it out and set it aside - just in case.  It has some orange, grey, black, and a touch of purple.  And this week I bought a black print with a little orange to be the dark.  The green can be the contrasting fabric, and somewhere I have a grey spiderweb fabric that can be the light.  So maybe there will be 2 Saturday Sampler mystery quilts made at once.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Design Wall Monday - RSC18 blocks

The 3 October blocks for RSC18 are done.  The color for October in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green, with the focus on darker shades.  I dug through the scrap bins and came up with a few options.  Last month was dark/medium blues and I still have those blocks to make to complete the challenge blocks for the year. I forgot to make them until looking at the stack of finished blocks over the weekend.  Oops!

Mari (Academic Quilter) tells us this block is called the Dewey Dream block, from the 1899 edition of the Orange Judd Farmer, an agricultural publication.  She has been finding such interesting vintage block patterns for this year's challenge.  The Rainbow Scrap Challenge is hosted by So Scrappy each year, and this year these 2 ladies partnered up on the project. You can find links to all of the blocks for 2018 at either blog. 

Check out more Design Wall Monday posts at:


On CBS Sunday Morning today they asked what time of day you are most creative. The largest percentage said morning. When are YOU most creative?

I am a night owl for most things but not for sewing.  I used to sew at my dining room table after my kids went to bed. But these days my best sewing time is from about 10 am to mid-afternoon. 

However - my brain does its best planning and scheming in the evening. My ideas seem to come to me in the evening. So I guess being creative happens in different stages at different times of day. How about you?

This morning I have been working on a binding while watching a movie. After my hubbie leaves this afternoon for a business trip I plan to go downstairs and sew. 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Snowmen are complete

It's even cuter than I had hoped it would be.  This was a kit (UFO) I purchased along with a pattern book by Kimberbelle.  Each of the patterns makes a wall hanging/table topper this size - about 30" square.  They are all seasonal designs and adorable. 

The buttons are 1/2" black satin covered buttons and the pom-poms on the hats are actually little hair clips.  They added more color and texture to this piece.  Some simple machine quilting and it's done.  Yay!! I can check off another UFO.

Friday, October 5, 2018

What is missing?

The pretty black embellishments for the hat are missing, as are the snowman eyes.  At the last minute I decided to try hair clips on these hats, and I like the results.  The black ones were pretty, but these are slightly smaller and each of the 4 hats got a different color clip.

The binding is done too, so the only thing remaining is to add the eyes.  I thought the buttons I had would work but I didn't like them. So I need to look for different black buttons for those eyes. Then I can show you the whole table topper. 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Carpet of leaves

We had a really strange day yesterday - in terms of weather.   By 2 pm when I went out to run an errand the temperature had reached 83 degrees, which is about 20 degrees above what it's been for about a week.  And it felt humid. But about 3 pm the sky turned dark and the wind started howling.  40 mph winds!  We never got any rain, but the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees almost immediately. And this morning it was only in the upper 30s when I got up.  BRRRR!  And the lawn is carpeted in leaves - most of which are still green.  Our ash trees shed so easily this time of year, but usually that shedding happens after they turn gold. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

UFO Challenge list

I've done fairly well so far this year working my way through the list of UFOs that I put together for the All People Quilt UFO Challenge. But it's funny, there are certainly things on the list that just have fallen to the side unfinished, like always.

The September items just didn't happen, but the good news is that I pulled out 2 UFO kits that weren't on my list and worked on them. One was the baby quilt and the other was the snowman table topper. Both are now ready to quilt. And the bonus is that the leftovers from the baby quilt kit are becoming big floor pillows for grandkids.  One of those is also ready to quilt. So I'm happy with UFO progress for September anyway.

Now the number drawn for October is #10, and here is my list. And right there on top is the item I've been dreading all year - getting those names onto the Christmas stocking cuffs.  My love/hate relationship with my embroidery machine needs to be challenged this month.

I made these stockings last fall about this time, but didn't get as far as embroidering the names before December. And when I pulled them out of the basket they were hiding in - I discovered only 2 are done and ready for cuffs.  I still need to sew the quilted front to the back of one stocking plus the 4th one is still in pieces.  Yikes! Less done than I thought. 

They were set aside last fall with the promise to myself that I would finish them before December this year.  Well  . . . it's time to stop procrastinating, isn't it?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Design Wall Monday - Snowmen

The 4 corner snowman faces and hats have been appliqued and I think I've found black buttons that will work for eyes.  Can't wait to get this one quilted and bound so I can add the embellishments.

Check out more Design Wall Monday posts at:

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The snowmen are coming

The snowman table topper/wall hanging is ready to appliqué.  The piecing went even quicker than I thought it might.  In about an hour, while watching college football on TV, I had this together. So why did I wait so long to make this? The next step was tracing the appliqué pieces onto the fusible webbing and then ironing onto the fabrics. And I made the binding from the black print too.

The snowman faces are a fleece and the hats and noses are bright prints.  There are 4 black embellishments for those hats that can to on after it’s quilted, along with some black button eyes.  Maybe I can get the blanket stitching done around these appliqués tomorrow or Monday.

It's a little early for snowmen

I've pulled another kit out of the UFO stack to work on this month.  This one is a cute snowman wall hanging or table topper by Kimberbell.  The main part is simple piecing with snowball blocks in the center and very basic borders. That is my task today - after I finish the final 6 invoices I need to process for work.  I don't usually work on Saturdays, but today is my deadline to send out 3rd quarter invoices.  Invoices before sewing today! But I WILL get to the sewing.

The applique may take me a bit longer but it is fairly large pieces, so that is good. And there are some fun embellishments included in this kit for the snowmen.  It will look great on my dining room table this winter.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Found it!

While working on invoices this morning I had this sudden light bulb moment - and thought of one more place to look for the yardage I couldn’t find yesterday. So when I had a break, I went downstairs and looked again. Bingo!! There was the black background yardage that had been hiding. 

It has a lot of different colors in the small print and I found yardage of the pink batik that I like with it. The royal blue is OK, but I’m really thinking a nice lime green or aqua would be even better.  We’ll see what else I can find in the stash - or maybe a quick trip to The Pin Cushion is in order.  We need a light and a dark fabric, plus a third one with plenty of contrast. Starting a new Saturday Sampler is always fun, but this one is going to be a mystery quilt. It’s hard for me to choose fabrics without knowing what the plan is. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Two more string blocks

My lunch break from work was spent in my sewing room making two more rainbow string blocks. I really like this red one, but the lavender is pretty nice too.  

After finishing these blocks I spent a little time looking for a piece of yardage that I’m considering for the new Saturday Sampler which is about to begin.  I know where I saw it last, but naturally I couldn’t find it today when I really wanted to.  Frustrating to say the least when something is probably hiding in plain sight. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rainbow string blocks

Work has been way too busy the past couple of weeks, and so far this week too.  I finished up work for the day and just knew my sewing room was waiting for me.  Mindless sewing - that is what I really needed to do.  Relaxation therapy at its best.

A few days ago I saw a beautiful scrap quilt done with string blocks done in a rainbow of colors.  It inspired me to make something similar.  Check it out at: 

I’ve done several string quilts now, but this is the first time I’ve done the blocks with a single color.  What fun to dig through the color sorted scrap bins to find strings for these.  Look at the cute Minions peeking out of the blue block!

Five blocks are done - and I cut the foundation muslin for two more.  I have lots of red, orange, light blue, and light purple.  So at least a couple more blocks can happen quickly.  The crazy thing is that these blocks made no difference in the amount of scraps left to use up.

I think the green one is my favorite so far.  There are raccoons in one strip. 

Purple was the hardest color to pull together.  There were plenty of scraps, but very few strips long enough to work.  But I think it turned out just fine.  There are actually plenty of lavender/light purple strips to put together in a separate block.  

Note - I use a 10" square of muslin as a foundation and then square them up to 9.5" once the strips are all sewn on.  

Monday, September 24, 2018

Family time

I was supposed to babysit for my daughter on Saturday, but my husband said "I’ll go babysit, you go to your quilt class".  But he actually just went to get the kids and brought them back to our house for the weekend.  They played together really well both days.  A little bike riding, some time in the blow up bouncy house, and a little time reading books.  They even found the container of empty plastic Easter eggs in the garage and had fun hiding them in the yard for each other.

We have a big round coffee table in the family room and it’s perfect for puzzles and LEGO blocks. That is where they kiddos spent the majority of Sunday.  You forget how many times a 3 year old can say "why?" in a day.

And their mom and dad were able to get dressed up and attend a wedding.  As my daughter said on Facebook when she posted the photo below - "we clean up really nice".  Yes they do. And I’m glad they got to spend a weekend with just the 2 of them.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Jack’s pillow

I finally got in another hour of sewing last night after work. Since I was already at the machine mending my daughter’s scrub pants I finished making the front of the floor pillow for my youngest grandson.

I don’t do much night time sewing because I need better lighting in my sewing room.  But it was relaxing. Maybe I need to do more evening sewing since that seems to be the only time I have lately anyway.

This is all made from leftovers from the baby quilt I did recently.  There is enough of the print to do an envelope back for the pillow.  It even includes some blue (a teal blue), which is the color for this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  Next up is one for Mason and hopefully I can get that one started this weekend.  My husband actually volunteered to go babysit the grandkids today so I could go to the afternoon quilt class I had scheduled.  Bless his heart.  That means I should have a little time to sew afterwards.  Yay!!

Friday, September 21, 2018


Grumble, grumble, grumble!  I need to remind myself that the extra hours in my next paycheck will help pay for my January cruise.  But I want to sew . . . and instead I'm dealing with invoices and spreadsheets for the second straight week.  My desk is buried in piles of invoices needing to be sent back to a contractor for pricing revisions, invoices that need to be processed out to the client for payment, and invoices that need to be entered in the correct project budgets.  BURIED is the key word.

I'm supposed to be semi-retired, but I worked full time last week and again this week.  My brain is tired and needs some sewing time to refresh the brain cells.  The 2 hours I took off on Wednesday wasn't enough.  And I'm babysitting tomorrow, even though I really need to be working on these invoices because I know I won't be done yet.  So my fun will have to wait.   Oh - and my lunch break is over!! Back to the grindstone!  And I need to remind myself that invoicing will slow down as the construction season winds down. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Digging into the UFOs

A couple of weeks ago I dug into the drawer holding kits, and just picked one.  It didn't matter which one - I just needed to find something to remove from that huge UFO list.  This particular kit was called Baby & Me, with fabrics by Henry Glass.  It's UFO that I bought from a friend when she downsized her stash. I've had it about 3 years and I have no idea how long she had it. The panel is cute, and the actual kit pattern had multiple pieced borders. It was an adorable pattern, but it was getting some age on it. So it was time to do something with it all.

I pulled out a pattern called Diva 2 that uses panels and borders them with diagonal pieces.  It's a really simple and quick pattern.  I had a couple of hours off this morning, and put this crib sized top together.  Since I don't need a baby quilt for a gift right now I think I'll wait to get it quilted some other time.  I cut the binding from the orange and will keep it with the flimsy until I need it.

Naturally there is quite a bit of fabric left over from the kit.  In fact, the leftovers will work perfectly for a couple of the big floor pillows I'm making for grandkids.  I have the pieces cut out for the capital "J" that I need for Jack's pillow. 

Using up this fabric will leave a nice big space in the drawer full of kits. Yay!!!

Monday, September 17, 2018

More fall decor

Still no sewing time yet, so I’ll show you another autumn quilt displayed in my home. This is a disappearing 4-patch made a few years ago. The fabric was a gift from a girlfriend and I just love that little pop of blue with the greens, brown, and gold. 

I worked most of the day today, and then had a short visit with cousins who were driving through the area. Cecelia and Mary are driving from Washington state to Florida to deliver Mary’s daughter’s car.  Wish they could have stayed the night, but they wanted to get as far as Sioux City tonight yet.  They had a goal of making it in 5 days and today was actually day 3 already. But they’ve stopped to visit other family, explored the Little Big Horn site, and this morning was spent at Mt Rushmore. So the first 3 days were well spent. 

My husband was supposed to leave today to spend the week on a job site - which would have left me with plenty of quiet sewing time this week. But his doctor “grounded” him due to an infection and swelling on his leg. They’re not sure if he got bit by something or if it’s from a scrape he got on a piece of rusty metal a week ago. Either way, he’s on antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory for the next week. And he’s supposed to elevate it, ice it and rest it for a few days. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Quilts from the past

Absolutely no sewing time this week has me feeling very antsy to sew. And then this morning a picture popped up in my Facebook memories of a quilt I made 6 years ago. 

This is a perfect example of designing on the fly. I made the blocks by putting a shadow type border around sections from a panel. The sashing ended up quite wide to make it bigger. And then I didn’t have enough big pieces left of one of the border fabrics so a pieced side border became a necessity. And finally I added solid strips at the top and bottom to make it long enough to actually be useful. 

Designed on the fly with no plan in place. Probably not the best way to go but it turned out ok. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fall is in the air

In spite of the hot windy summery day, fall is definitely starting to  show it's face around here. Nights have been very cool and our ash trees are beginning to turn golden. So that means it's time to change some décor in the house too.  One of my Kim Diehl miniature quilts looks good under the big pot of fall flowers on the hearth.

This small leaf and acorn table topper comes out every fall. I made this a LOT of years ago - maybe 15 or more. But it's still one of my favorites and it fits so nicely on top of the bookcase in my office.  The big metal pumpkin will probably move to the dining room table, but for now it's looking good here.

Yesterday morning I had a morning meeting across town, and this was my view as I backed out of the driveway - our turkey flock crossing the street into our yard.  It was a parade and they weren't in any hurry!  And - can you tell it's garbage pickup day? 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Giving a quilt away

One of my nephews is getting married in a couple of weeks and it gave me an opportunity to Gift a quilt.  His sisters and sisters-in-law hosted a lovely bridal shower today and I was so pleased to be able to attend. The quilt is one I made a few years ago and love, but it just never has gotten used.  It seemed appropriate to give it a home.  Jessica seemed quite pleased.

This was a wedding gift and a shower gift as we won’t be attending the wedding. It’s going to be a small intimate affair on her parents’ ranch with just immediate family.  So I was very happy that I could give her the quilt today in person. Best wishes on a long and happy marriage to Jessica and Andrew.