Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

The Twister Witches Hat quilt on the front door welcomes all of the Trick or Treaters to my house. This was a scrappy project I did a few years ago. It all came from the scrap bins, including the border print at the top and bottom.  It's quilted with glow in the dark thread and has a fun spider web design.

There are several 60 degree table runners in my house - for virtually every season.  This one is a favorite because I just love the witches feet and crazy stockings.

The light up jack o lanterns and the bucket of fall leaves is currently sitting in my entry way, but I may move it onto the front porch later this afternoon and put it right next to the front door.  How do you all decorate for Halloween?

I used to go kind of crazy with Halloween (and Christmas) and decorate the whole house, but I've pared it down considerably in recent years. 

And most years I dressed up in costume at school even though I taught in a high school.  It was fun to dress up for the day and the high school kids seemed to get a kick out of it.  Our little community had a huge costume party every year for adults as a fund raiser for things like kids' summer programs with prizes for best costumes and even best groups.  My sister-in-law and I always got a bit carried away with costumes.  We won prizes several years.  Eventually I had a whole trunk full of great costumes: Care Bears, Fruit of the Loom guys, gorillas, and many many more.  It was great fun - except for the time I scared a couple of little kids when I answered the door in a scary witches costume.  I gave them extra candy.   Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Jack's pillow

I finished Jack's pillow yesterday.  The quilting looks so white in this photo, but it really isn't.  The white marking chalk needs to be wiped off better and then it should look normal.  The colors are not very true in the photo anyway. That blue is really a more of a teal.  I ran out of the teal and had to piece it across the top, so I used a leftover hourglass block from the baby quilt this fabric was in. Not sure I like the end result, but maybe a 3 year old won't care. 

So now I have 2 of the 5 grandkids' pillows done.  Three more to go and I pulled the fabric out for Jonah's pillow yesterday.  These are 20" square. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Design Wall Monday 

This was a very lazy Sunday.  Laundry, a little hand work, and reading - with my ankle propped up as much as possible.  My Achilles tendon is acting up again and was very swollen up yesterday.  I'm so frustrated to have this happening again! 

On a brighter note - it's Monday and I'm ready for a fresh start in a new week.  What's on your Design Wall this morning?  Check out a few others at:

I have plenty of hand work to do, so that was my main activity while I watched football with the hubbie.  I'm on the third block of my Patchwork of the Crosses project.  The plan is to make a table runner, so 3 blocks may be all I do.  They are so pretty and I'm sure someday I'll want to do more.  I saw a picture on Saturday of blocks done in bright modern prints and they were gorgeous.  Mine are mostly Civil War reproductions.

Another small task was also tackled.  The bodies of all 4 Christmas stockings were done, but 2 were not turned right side out. So I trimmed them, clipped the curves, and turned them right side out - while sitting on the couch with the leg propped up.  The cuffs are cut and I'm procrastinating on getting the names embroidered on those.  I'm hoping to hobble down those stairs and get the linings and hanging loops done later today.  Then maybe next weekend I'll try to embroider those names finally.

The "car" stocking will be for my son-in-law and the candy cane looking one will be for my daughter.  The other 2 stockings (not pictured) will be for their kiddos.  This is a project that should NOT be taking me a whole year to complete, but here we are!

My husband left this morning on a 2 week road trip for work.  He'll be on a job site in Iowa, which means I'll have lots of alone time to fill up.  And I'm hoping that means lots of sewing time for me. I've having a little mojo slump, possibly because of the unfinished projects laying around in various stages.  It's a little overwhelming right now.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Grumpy cat

This poor thing just came home from spending the morning at the vet, getting shaved and having a bath.  He’s a long haired cat and at 17 years old he isn’t as limber as he used to be. So he doesn’t groom himself as much and that long hair gets matted.  We cut out some hair clumps but just couldn’t keep up.  We were concerned that at his age he might not survive the anesthesia they do in order to shave him but decided to risk it.

No food or water after midnight last night meant we had a very unhappy hungry cat this morning. And then there was the indignity of getting put into his carrier and put in the car.  Not a happy kitty!  He still looks a bit grumpy but dug right into his food and fresh water as soon as I got him home.  Grumpy or not I’m just glad he is home safe and sound.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Brief autumn colors

The brilliant colors of fall are way too fleeting.  And I just couldn't capture the deep red of this maple tree just off my back deck.  During the brief sunshine yesterday it looked like it was on fire.  So beautiful.  And in my front yard is this golden beauty.  But the next time our South Dakota wind comes up most of those leaves will be on the ground. 

Monday, October 22, 2018

Design Wall Monday 

My Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018 blocks are done and I did lay them out to admire them over the weekend.  Each of these blocks is an old traditional pattern that the RCS18 hosts found in old publications.  It was fun to see the unusual block names and when they were published. I love these blocks, and there are a couple of them that I want to use for whole quilts in the future.  You can find the patterns and RSC info on So Scrappy's blog.

This is the best photo I could get and it doesn't do justice to the colors.  Right now I'm thinking about doing a simple narrow white sashing between the blocks.  But I'm leaving my options open as I might see a different layout that I like better before I get back to working on these.  Too many projects that I want to work on right now, and not enough time or energy.

Check out Design Wall Monday for more fun:

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: