Monday, December 31, 2012

Hotpads for bowls

This cute item was a gift from my cousin Julie for Christmas. It might be one of the most clever things I've seen in a while . . . a microwave hotpad for bowls.

You set the bowl into the bowl-shaped hotpad (this one is upside down to show off the pretty fabric), and then set the whole thing into the microwave. It makes it really easy to remove from the microwave when it's hot.  How clever is that! 

Thanks Julie. It has already been used and it worked perfectly! Love it!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Strippee Owls

This whole quilt top took about 2.5 hours to make, including the time used to cut the strips. It is the cutest owl fabric. Cindy at The Pin Cushion helped me pick out the other fabrics for the focus stripe and the narrow stripe. She has a great sense of color and I love being able to get advice from her.

This quilt will be headed to Australia this spring for a new baby coming into our extended family.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Press n Seal update

I finally got a chance to work on my "Press n Seal" project again. My friend Moneik guessed right away that I was going to use it to trace my quilting design and sew over it. I got 1 section done this morning and it worked very well. Much better than trying to free motion quilt - which I have not talent for whatsoever.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another scrap project

Potholders - another solution for the larger scraps in my bin. I had 2 "chunks" of these coffee themed fabrics left over from a couple of tablerunners. And I have leftover pieces of batting. So, a double layer of batting sandwiched between the 2 fabrics and I had quick potholders. And I actually needed these in my kitchen.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A rag quilt

Since our family celebrated our Christmas on Sunday, it left me with a couple of quiet days at home. I've taken advantage of that quiet to sew. One project was to start a rag quilt using my flannel scraps and denim leftovers. I have a good start with lots of squares and rectangles stitched together.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pillowcases for a cause

Yesterday I mailed these 3 pillowcases to Connecticut for a project that is collecting 600 pillowcases to give to the children of Newtown, CT.

I initially read about this project on Canton Village Quilt Works blog and knew that I could contribute something. I had these pillowcases already made so they went right into the mail.  It is such a small thing, but I hope that the bright colors bring a smile to some faces following such a horrific event in their community.

If you want to send pillowcases too, follow my link for the mailing address.  The goal is December 27th, so time is short with the holiday in there. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A new quilting tool

This is a new quilting tool that I am trying out this week. Can you guess what I'm going to do with it?

Come back for more information . . .

Monday, December 17, 2012

Geraniums in winter

Another Saturday Sampler block is complete. This one is a flower pot of Bloomin' Geraniums. 

The only change I made with this one was the fabric for the flower pot. We received a pretty warm brown, but I thought it looked too dark against my black background. So I dug into my batik stash and found this one to substitute.  I think this contrast is much better.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rubber duckies

I made another self-binding baby blanket today. This one has a yellow and light blue rubber ducky flannel. So cute and quick and easy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Playing with bigger Hexies

The previous hexie projects I've worked on used 3/4" finished hexies. But I just bought a Moda Candy mini charm pack (2.5" pre-cuts) in Marmalade . . . and immediately decided they would be perfect as hexies.

So I printed off paper foundations for some larger hexies. These finish about 2" and I'm stitching them together to use for a spring project I have in mind. 

And I've decided that the smaller ones are actually easier to handle. But then again maybe it is my arthritic hands!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A small UFO

I have a small child-sized quilt that finally got its binding!  This is my L'il Darlings quilt that was a Wash Tub Club project made with 1930's reproduction fabrics and a panel that I cut apart. 

This little pink and white and blue quilt has vertical rows of blocks separated by vertical sashing. And all of the centers of the blocks are fussy cut from the panel and set in square-in-a-squares. The pictures are all children that look like they came directly out of a 1930's elementary school reader.

Carly quilted it for me with a large open floral design and the binding matches the sashing.  Now it just needs a label and I'll be able to remove it from my UFO list.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas stocking circa 2004

I'm retiring this appliqued Christmas stocking this year.  I made it several years ago to replace my oldest daughter's stocking the year she "took" hers to hang in her own home.  This one is a little small, so I'm replacing her stocking again this year with something slightly larger. 

When she was a baby I made her a cute counted cross stitch stocking with her name on it. Of course that stocking was hung every year at our house, even after she moved away to college and had her own apartment.  But once she bought a house of her very own she decided she needed to have her own stocking.  So - I made this stocking to replace that one at our house.  And now it is going to find a new home somewhere else.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

November block for Saturday Sampler

This was an interesting block to make because the flowers appear to float on the background.  But it does echo the layout for one of the earlier blocks - which I've pictured below. 

The 4 little flowers are all done with a square-in-a-square technique.  So there is the inner dark blue square with 4 light blue triangles added to the sides. Then 4 larger black triangels were added to make the final square.

Very quick to make but mine turned out just a little too small, so I've had to adjust my seam allowance slightly to make the whole block come out correctly.

These will be set on point in the finished quilt.  I want to do something with the sashing to pick up on the batik colors but have not decided yet what I will do.  Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gifts from friends

A big thank you to my friend Mary who gave me this magazine on Saturday.  It is a French quilting magazine that someone brought her from a trip to France. 

Once she was done enjoying this magazine she decided to pass it along to me.  I'm a lucky "femme" - because there are some really neat projects in here.  And it will be a great opportunity to refresh my French language skills.

I really think I need to play with the paper pieced blocks in the cover photo. Aren't they spectacular?

Monday, December 3, 2012

60 degree TREES #2

I have finished the second of two 60 degree table runners that used this same red and green Christmas tree fabric.  It is always interesting how different they look just by cutting the fabric in a different spot. 

This one has a row of "Ho-Ho-Ho" showing up around the center. The other one has a row of ornaments toward the outside area.  I put a striped candy cane binding on both.  I'm keeping this one, but giving the other one away as a gift.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finally - the label is done

I finally remembered to take a picture of this label. This is on the back of the Christmas Friendship Block Exchange quilt that I just put the binding on.  I should have called it the Procrastination Quilt - because we made and exchanged the blocks back in 2009.  And here it is 3 years later that it is finally completely done.

As a matter of fact it is covering up my sick husband on the couch as I write this. He has a nasty cold, and needed a morning nap under a quilt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Decorating with quilts

One of the things I love the most about decorating my house for Christmas is using some of the fun "quilty" things I've made or received over the years.

On my family room coffee table is a square quilt and on the sofa is a pillow. That pillow is a stack and whack design that makes a circle that ends up like a modified Dresden Plate.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Sunday was spent decorating the house for the holidays. I have always enjoyed that task, although it was more fun when my girls were around to be part of the fun.  But I have a wonderful ornament collection that is full of great memories of Christmas, so decorating is always enjoyable for me.

We decided to move the Christmas tree out into the living room this year so there is more room to sit in the family room when everyone is home.  Our big tree takes up a lot of space.  So I bought a new tree for the family room that is tall and skinny and doesn't take up as much space.  It is pre-lit and I haven't hung any decorations on it yet, but I like it already.  I am thinking it might just get some big red bows to keep it simple.

What is your favorite decoration that you enjoy every year?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

This is what I'm doing this morning while watching the Macy's parade on TV and enjoying my coffee. My eggs are boiled and cooling to make deviled eggs to take to my daughter's for supper tonight.  I've always enjoyed cooking for a big Thanksgiving crowd, but will admit it is nice to be a guest somewhere else sometimes too.

This is the Indian Cabins block from 100 Blocks magazine.  I'm doing just a little hand quilting on it before binding. It will be a mug rug.  I love the spinning effect this block gives so I know I'll make it again sometime.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Half Square Triangles

8 times 12 - that is how many little triangle sets I have saved when trimming flying geese units from a recent quilt.  That quilt had 12 star blocks and each star had 8 star points.  And I hate throwing away scraps that could have a purpose.

So these have become my leaders and enders as I've been working on other projects the past couple of weeks.  Stitch, press open, square up to 2.5", and they are ready to become . . . something. 

I think this will make a lovely center section for a wall hanging or maybe it will be a doll quilt.  Right now this section is just hanging on my design wall where I can look at it and try to visualize what it will be when it grows up. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

100 Blocks - Lattice

I really love the 100 Block issues of Quiltmaker magazine, but this latest issue has some of the best blocks ever. 

My Christmas fabric stash is being raided to make some mug rugs as gifts, and I'm going to use some of the blocks from the magazine. 

This is one of the blocks I'm trying out. It is 12.5" square and is called Lattice. The designer is Cindy Lammon at  And I think it will be a beautiful block done in any color combination. 

I'll show you more another day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

60 Degree Runners

My body clock is messed up.  I am NOT a morning person and normally am perfectly happy to stay in bed until at least 7:30.  But I went to bed early last night and was wide awake at 5:00 am this morning. 

It is amazing what a person can accomplish during those hours when normally asleep.  I made my coffee, put in a load of laundry, and then headed to my sewing room.  The cat even had to come down about 7:30 to demand breakfast because I lost track of time.

These 2 new 60 degree runners are ready to quilt and bind. I still have a couple more of these cut and ready to sew together. It is really one of my favorites and make terrific gifts.

Plus I made another self-binding baby blanket, add 4 more rows of little half-square triangles to a scrappy project, and made a Christmas block that is going to become a mug rug for a gift.  And it's not quite 11:00 am. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More flannel

I have to admit that I'm kind of hooked on making the self-binding flannel baby blankets.  And I have added a couple of new purchases to my flannel stockpile.

Both of these prints will look so cute with the lavendar dot.  I also have a light blue with yellow rubber duckies to go with a yellow star flannel.  And last but not least I have a darling giraffe print in turquoise and orange. 

I have 4 of these self-binding blankets already made and I gave one of them to my daughter to see if she liked it.  Since she is pregnant with twins due in the spring, and her cousin is pregnant as well - I know that I can give away a few of these as gifts. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Reading enjoyment

Reading instead of sewing this last few evenings.  And I finished Jennifer Chiaverini's newest book.  Her books are always a "feel good" read in my opinion and this one was no different.

She introduces us to some lovely new characters, and gives us an update on beloved "old" characters.  And I just may have to try out the Giving Quilt pattern.

And last night after work I stopped at my favorite local book store and picked up volume 6 of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks.  I have all 5 of the previous volumes and this one is possibly the best one yet.  I can only say WOW!!  This magazine was just what I needed to put a little MOJO back into my sewing.  There are some gorgeous blocks in there that I just know I will try out.  The first one I plan to make is Wayne Kollinger's Indian Cabin block.   Check out his blog post that shows some variations in layout he suggests for his block.  I really love the strong geometric look of this one!    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UFO finish - finally

OK - this UFO has been very patiently waiting to be finished.  It was a Christmas themed friendship exchange that I was involved in - back in 2009!  There is a green ivy fabric that was used by everyone in their blocks.

I made my blocks that spring and summer (13 of them) - and we got together to exchange them in September 2009. The 13th block went into a charity quilt we donated locally.

In late 2010 I finally decided to set the blocks on point with a simple sashing and cornerstone layout.  Then Carly quilted it for me. 

In the fall of 2011 the binding was stitched on, but then I didn't get the hand sewing done on the binding before Christmas. So I set it aside. What was I thinking!!  So close to a finish.  I'm happy to say to I dug this out and finished up that handstitching  on the binding over the weekend.  The only thing left to do is to is write on the label.  I guess I'll have to put 2009-2012 on it as dates to remind me it was a LONG time getting finished.  But it feels good and is on my sofa to enjoy through the holidays this year - finally.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pretty stitching

I picked up my Twisted Witches Hat door hanging from the quilter on Saturday.  As always, she did a great job!  The quilting is a silver thread with stars and moons stitched into it. 

Now it needs binding and a hanging sleeve.  The binding I have planned is the same stripe that you can see in the picture.  Striped binding are always eye catching.

The hanging sleeve will require some thought since I plan to use it on my front door.  My other thought is just using some purple or orange heavy ribbon and hang it from the wreathe hook. That would be quick and easy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pinwheel Star is finished

Happy to report that I made a deadline - and way before the last minute for a change.  This quilt is a pinwheel star quilt that I made at the request of a cousin.  The Minkee backing is the same pale blue as the monkey print on the border.

It is completely finished and even has a label. So now it is ready to put in the mail to a Kansas baby by way of Virginia. 

In Virginia, the "givers" can write anything they want on the heart-shaped label before sending it on to Kansas in time to welcome the new baby in early December.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

More fun with scraps

What do you do with leftovers and scraps from projects?

Well, I can't bear to throw them away if I can cut them into squares and use them in something else later on. So, this is the leftovers from my recent Twister project for Halloween.

It is a lacey-looking bunch of squares all still connected by tiny strings of fabric. This is what you have left once you cut out the twisted sections. And these will be cut into 2" squares and dropped into my box of other 2" squares . . . just waiting for a project that needs such a thing. 

Just maybe I could sew these back together in the same layout and make a teeny-tiny twisted witches hat using the itty-bitty twisted ruler.  Or maybe not. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another sampler block

I've made the most recent Saturday Sampler block in the Wishing for Spring sampler. These will all be set on point which is a setting that I love to use. 

This one is really just a log cabin technique so it went together very quickly. Each of the blocks so far have a flower theme. It has been so interesting to see what color background people have been using.  I was not very imaginative by choosing black. It was a safe choice. Some of the prettiest blocks had much more creative use of color in the background.

It does remind me that I need to think outside of the box more often and take some color risks.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Labeling a baby quilt

The label is on and ready for my cousin to write anything she wants on it before giving this quilt as a baby gift to her friend. It is about 4" wide and tall but there is plenty of room to write on the tan section. 

I have to say the color is really bad in this photo, maybe because it was such a grey dreary day. The Minkee on the quilt is really pale blue but looks grey in this picture.  As soon as I finish the binding I'll photograph the whole quilt and post it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Work, work, work

I am on day 6 of a work marathon, and totally worn out mentally.  And it leaves me with nothing to blog about.  Boring!

My workshop participants are working on a task, so I'm on my iPad trying to work the cobwebs from my brain.  I desperately need some sewing time to regenerate and renew.  The only sewing that has happened this week is binding on a baby quilt.  I NEED to hear the happy hum of my sewing machine.  Maybe tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1st Halloween

No sewing to show today, but I can share my granddaughter Sophia who is ready for her very 1st Halloween. It's turtle time!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Twisted Hat Door Hanging

Hanging this on my front door for Halloween was inspired by a picture I saw recently of my current house taken right before we bought it. The former owner had this huge 3D fabric Santa head and hat hanging on the door.  You could see it from the street and was so cute.

Well . . . this can be seen from the street too and should be pretty cute for future Halloweens.  It still needs quilting, binding, and a hanging sleeve added so it won't meet the deadline for this year. 

I actually had the fabric all laid out for a narrow green border and then using the hat and shoes border fabric for a wider border. I was all ready to cut this morning when the inspiration hit me for hanging this on my front door. But side borders would make it too wide. So it just got the top and bottom borders and it fits perfectly on my door.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tankini & a Jack 'o Lantern

This cute little item is from a pattern called Tankini, possibly because it will fit on the tank of your 'commode' perfectly. But I decided to put it on the hearth of our family room fireplace.

All done with 5 fabrics from my stash. The top all came from small pieces of 3 fat quarters, the back came from another fat quarter left over, and the striped binding was cut from left overs of another fat quarter. 

Total time to make this - maybe 3 hours counting the hand stitching on the binding!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Twisted Witch's Hat

Every single piece of this project so far was taken from my stash of Halloween fabrics. I saw this online and since I already had the ruler, I just did the math to figure out how many 5" squares I needed. And I laid them out on my design wall.

Next step was to start cutting these out using the Twister ruler. I think this will be the most time consuming part. But I'm watching Vikings football while doing this.

So far I have 4 rows of twisted blocks cut from the original background.  Can't wait to start sewing on this!  This witch's hat was one of the most creative ideas I've seen these Twisters used to make.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pinterest fun

I must admit that I enjoy Pinterest.  Along with quilt blogs I've found that Pinterest is a wonderful way to enjoy other people's talents and to get inspiration for my own projects. But I was totally surprised to find one of my own quilts being pinned by others.  I am flattered that anyone would think one of my projects was worthy of sharing.  This is the project of mine that I've seen on Pinterest - it is a hexagon star from a free pattern by Kaye Wood.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fat Quarter Stars top

Forgive the poor photo quality . . . I'll post a better one when it's done.

Over my lunch hour I dropped off this quilt top with Carly to quilt.  It's my Fat Quarter Stars top done with the Ellie II fabric line.  I have another set of identical blocks done in greens, blues, and purples that I still need to put together.

I picked out a beautiful red backing fabric and will leave it in her talented hands to decide how to quilt it. It's always a pleasant surprise to pick them up when she is done.

While in The Pin Cushion I lingered over a gorgeous machine embroidered wall hanging.  It made me realize that I really, really need to make use of the embroidery unit for my sewing machine. I've had it over a year now and haven't taken the time to even try it out. It's time!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinwheel Star top is done

I had to get my husband to hold this one up for me to photograph.  The colors are a bit muted in this picture. Guess we should have tried outside, but the wind is blowing so that presents a different problem.

This is a baby quilt that I'm making for a cousin to give to a friend as a gift. It is large enough for a toddler and not too "baby-ish".

Once it is quilted and bound, I'm making a label that the giver can write on before she gives it to her friend. That way she can personalize it however she would like.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Yesterday I cut all of the pieces for the remaining 11 pinwheel star blocks. I had already made 1 block as a test to make sure my math was accurate.

Today I've been working on the blocks themselves.  All of the squares, rectangles and triangles became these sections of the blocks.

And this is the result.  I have all of the rows sewn together but I needed a break. So I'm watching the Vikings  football game. Then I'll finish the blocks by putting the rows together.  And later in the week I'll work on the sashing and cornerstones. Last step will be adding the borders. I have set a deadline for myself on this quilt because it is a "commission" project for a gift being given by my cousin's wife to a friend. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

1 hour project

What can you accomplish in an hour?

A self-binding baby blanket. This is the second one I've made now and once I figured out the technique it was really fast.  Cut, sewing, top stitch, press . . . all done in just less than an hour, start to finish, last night.  I have the flannel for 2 more so now I need a couple of more free hours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spur of the moment

Just call me an impulse shopper!

I stopped into The Pin Cushion yesterday to buy some white thread. Just thread - honest!!

First thing, Carma took me to the back where Carly had my blue stars quilt on the frame. I just love the quilting she is doing on my quilt and can't wait to get it back. It will be beautiful.

Then, I had to chat with Cindy and see what she was working on because it looked so cute.  It was this darling little table topper called Tankini. Another great pattern from Atkinson Designs. I love their patterns - have done several - so of course I had to buy it.  And then of course I had to go dig out some Halloween fabrics from my stash and try it out last night. I really was just going to start it. But about 90 minutes later I had the top all done.  It is going to be even cuter once I quilt it and add the striped binding. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Self-binding baby blanket

This self-binding baby blanket is made from 2 flannel pieces and is one of the easiest projects I've done in ages.  It is so easy in fact, that I am going to make more of them so that I have some baby gifts ready to go when needed.

The Pin Cushion has done some classes on this and I've wanted to attend, but just couldn't make any of them work out. So I decided that somewhere on the Internet must be instructions for this. And I was so right - several different tutorials showed up in my search.  Just search for "self-binding baby blanket".

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Planning Day

Today is a planning day - not a sewing day. Partly because I have a lot of projects that need some planning and organizing - and partly because I'm going to play some golf this afternoon while we have a gorgeous day.

One of the projects I have to work on soon is a baby quilt that I am making for one of my cousins as a gift she wants for a good friend.  This is the design I've come up with so far. I drew this up on EQ6. The border fabric will be a soft blue baby print with tans/browns/greens/blues in a jungle print. I'm hoping she likes this design so that I can get started on it. Or we may start from scratch with a new design. That's OK too.

The other planning I've been doing today is finishing up my UFO list for our quilt guild challenge. I know it doesn't reflect every single project laying in a drawer or box in my sewing room. But it covers most.  Right now I have 26 UFOs listed, plus 7 quilts that just need binding and a label, plus 5 more that need quilting, binding, and label.  And I've added 15 more projects that have been purchased but not started.  So . . . that is 53 projects total that will be on my radar for the next 12 months.

I'll turn in a copy of this list at next week's guild meeting. And I'm posting this list in my sewing room above my cutting table . . . here I will have to look at it every time I'm in there!  I'm hoping it is inspiration to get things finished.