Sunday, April 29, 2012


A copy of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr's latest publication, MODERN QUILTS ILLUSTRATED  arrived a few days ago.  Today was the first opportunity I had to really review it.
I absolutely love the format.

It is easy to read and the pattern directions are clear and specific.  The book contains patterns for three projects. 
Included are many tips and side bars to give more details.
They have provided a list of the fabrics used to make it easy to find the exact color if you want to duplicate their quilt.  There are alternate palettes shown to give inspiration for making the quilt your own.  There are a limited number of kits available for purchase.

Lots of information is given to help the beginner as well as the more experienced quilter understand the design concept that will make the finished quilt a success.

The last feature in the publication is called "Palette Chasing 101", "a feature designed to encourage the exploration and discovery of inspiring color combinations". 
In this issue the palette was selected from the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

The publication will come out three times a year.
I can hardly wait to get started on a project.  I think I want to do the applique pears first.

Check out Weeks' page at


Saturday, April 28, 2012


My friend, Lucy, just had a birthday.   A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation in the mail to come to Lucy's SHHH Surprise Birthday Party.  It meant I had about 3 weeks to come up with a gift for her.

I haven't known Lucy a long time; however, when I met her it felt like we had been friends from way back.  She has the sweetest temperament and is quite an independent, charismatic lady.  My kind of friend!  She is very creative and talented.  She has always used needle and thread to make things.  She is an avid reader and we have shared many discussions about books we like.  I liked her immediately!

She invited me to her home to have cocoa and cookies at Christmastime.  I loved her little cottage.  It is warm and cozy and comfortable.  Sitting right in the middle of the front room is a gorgeous Baby Grand Piano.  Did I mention that Lucy is an accomplished musician?

After the invitation arrived I pondered over just the right gift. After all, this is a momentous birthday.  I thought of a book; I thought of gift cards for dining out; and then it hit me!  Lucy would enjoy one of my quilts.

I knew I wanted it to be subtle and classic in color and style.  So on Saturday morning I awoke at 5am.  About 5:30am I headed to the Studio and stayed there all day.  I took a couple of breaks, but I went right back to making Lucy's quilt.

These are the fabrics I pulled from my stash.  They are in the warm neutral palette with some patterns here and there.  It seemed to say "serenity" to me.

At the same time, there was movement and fluidity in the designs that created some energy.

I wanted a very simple pattern that would not have any spots in it that would get greater focus than the overall quilt.  So I cut some rectangles and started piecing.

Sometimes it is a challenge to keep the pattern simple and let the overall personality of the fabrics carry the show.

I started piecing the thin rectangles to the wide rectangles in a random manner.  I simply reached for a pair and sewed.  The only prerequisite was that no two pairs be identical.

I just kept sewing until eventually I had 132 blocks made.

It is now ready to go on the design wall and I can start to put it together in rows for assembly.

While it is on the design wall I am able to tweak the patterns that are forming.  If too many of the same thing are too close, now is the time to move them.
I juggled the blocks around for quite a while until I was satisfied with the placement.
Then I took it back to the machine and assembled it into a quilt top.

 There are so many seams in this pattern that I would have a difficult time knowing when to press left and when to press right in order to get the adjoining seams to "nest".  I chose to press all seams open.  It makes for easier assembly.

Next I loaded it onto my quilting machine.  I chose a meander stitch with a variegated thread.

The meander with the variegated thread was subtle enough to not overwhelm the simplistic beauty of the blocks in the quilt.

Of course, it must pass the test of the Resident Quilt Tester before it is declared complete.

The final touch to this quilt is the label.  I incorporated the label into the backing of the quilt and then quilted over it.

Detail of the label.
When Lucy arrived at the restaurant where we were all waiting to celebrate her birthday, she was indeed surprised.
There was a real flurry of activity as Lucy started opening her gifts.
She had a lot of help from her great-nieces who were taking turns opening the packages and opening the cards.
In the midst of all of that, my gift to Lucy was getting opened.  My pictures are blurry because no one was being still long enough for me to get a good shot.
That is Molly helping hold the quilt for Aunt Lucy and Lucy's son, Bill, in the background.  Bill was our host and he owns The Sweet Shoppe in Charleston, South Carolina.  Of course, he provided the birthday cakes:  Strawberry and Lemon Blueberry.  They were out of this world delicious.  I know I did not get the exact name of these two delicacies.  Sorry, Bill,  I forgot to ask you to give me their authentic bakery names.
Molly is reading my "birthday card", a.k.a.  the label that is on the back of the quilt.
Here is Lucy thanking me for making her a "napping" quilt.  I think she really liked it!
I was so happy to make it for her.  She is one very precious, sweet lady!
Happy, Happy Birthday, Lucy!
Wishing you many, many more!!!


Saturday, April 21, 2012


I called this medallion quilt, "Whatever Will I Do With All These Scraps?".  It started out from some scraps that were left over from another quilt.  I simply made too many units.  Well, I didn't really make too many units, I made the number the pattern called for and changed my mind about what size quilt I wanted.  So there they lay in the "Extras" drawer for a good while.  I have a lot of "parts and pieces" in the "Extras" drawer.

These flying geese, along with some Half-Square Triangles,  were the start of my idea to make another smaller quilt.  

These are some very bold colors in this fabric.
I headed off to my stash closet and started looking for a "focus" fabric to start the center of the Medallion.
I found this nice floral, but I had very little of it.  Actually, I think I only had about 20 inches of it.
I decided to cut the center square and then I had enough to make some cornerstones.

Now I had some other colors to play with. 
So I added the green as setting triangles and used the black as borders.

The thread for the quilting is a variegated red/yellow/green and it really stands out in the black borders.  The quilting pattern is called "Flying Geese".

Quilted in the green sections are flowers.

The back is pieced from one fabric.  See those flying geese?  That's how many were left after I completed the front of the quilt.

I made my label from those last Flying Geese.
It is so nice to have those out of the "Extras" drawer and being used in a quilt.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Someone gave me this large bag of selvages.  Many of them are in the blue and green family.

I started string piecing them onto muslin squares.
It looks pretty good.  Some of the strings had very little extra fabric.  Note to self:  when you cut off selvages leave about 1/2" so some of the color will show as they are assembled.

Then I trimmed it up and squared it for my blocks.

I like this.  I made two of them.  One  for the front and one for the back of the little bag.

This old, broken rule came in handy to make the "snap" closures.

This little bag is too cute.  It was so much fun making this in an afternoon.

Here is a link to a wonderful tutorial for making your own Snappy Bag.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012


The last time I checked on the baby Robins was late yesterday afternoon.  They were all safe and snug in their nest.  They definitely were expecting dinner soon.
This morning when I went for the newspaper and looked over at the nest, I could not see a single little head.
I went upstairs to the porch, which has been my vantage point, and looked down and saw this

They are clearly gone.  I am surprised at what I think is an early departure.
Last year we had Robins in the back yard and those babies stayed a loonngg time.  They were completely feathered and big before they left.
I know we have another resident around here who might be responsible for this early departure.  Our garden snake who lives in the backyard may have discovered the nest in the front yard.

Sometimes I am not happy with how the Food Chain in Nature works.

I am sad and I will miss them.  Thanks for enjoying this adventure with me. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Papa Robin arrived with food just as I arrived with my camera.

The little guys are stretching up with mouths wide open

"Okay, we must share, there is some for everyone"

"Ahhh, Home Sweet Home"

" I am leaving now.  I will bring more food later."

Home Alone

Earlier today there were only two babies in the nest.
I am making these pictures from the second floor porch.  So I went downstairs and out to the tree.  I wanted to trim some of the small branches away so I could get better photos.  There at the foot of the tree was another baby that had fallen out of the nest.  I did not have the camera so I have no picture.  I picked it up and put it in the nest.  Now it does appear that there are three babies, maybe four in the nest.
More to follow ...


Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Some friends of mine have a Bottle Tree in their backyard.  You can sit on their patio and look out onto their garden with all of its beautiful plants and statuary and their Bottle Tree.

I fell in love with the Tree.  I wanted one.  I began to plan where I wanted it in my garden.  The more I looked the harder it became to find the perfect spot.

Finally, it dawned on me that the reason it looked so good in her yard is because her patio is ground level and her backyard is perfectly flat and level.
Not so at my house. So I thought maybe I would have to put it in a spot that I could only see if I went down into the garden.  When sitting on my deck/porch I wouldn't be able to see it.

In the fall, the DH and I went to Ketner's Mill Festival and were enjoying the vendors and a beautiful fall day when I spotted this interesting contraption on display.   We walked over and this is what we found.
Can you see the shape of this iron structure?  It is a hanging bottle tree!  Well, I was so excited and we purchased two of these to hang on my porch. 
Next came collecting the bottles.

Aren't these gorgeous?  I went to the wine store and the clerk asked me what I was looking for.  I replied that I was looking for wine.  She asked what brand or what kind I wanted.  My answer, "I want wine in some pretty red, green, yellow and blue bottles".  She laughed and said "So, you have a bottle tree, do you?".  Wise woman.  So I began to collect the bottles.

Now that it is spring it is time to assemble my hanging bottle tree.

I decided they should not be hung one under the other but, instead, side by side on my porch.

Now each time I walk out on my porch to sit and relax I see my Bottle Trees.  

There is an added bonus.  Looking outside from my living room I have this view.

Life is good over here at The Frogpond.  I do love living in my little neck of the woods.
I will continue to collect bottles.  I think it would be fun to have a color theme for each month.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


 First you look to the left and then you look to the right

Now you look out the middle.  All you can see are the trees.
These are the views from my back porch now that the trees are leafed out.  You can barely see a neighbor's house through the branches.  Yes, it is like being in a tree house.

We took our Sunday walk to see what was new in the garden.
Pink Columbine

Hydrangea buds

Ferns have joined the Flamingos.
Arum in bloom

  And the sedums have filled the pot with lush new growth.  They will start blooming in another few weeks.

The biggest discovery and a surprise that we found in the garden was when we walked down to check on the fish in the lower pond.  As we turned on the deck and started to come back up the steps there lay our friend.  He has been around for a few years, but we don't always see him.  In April he is pretty sluggish and allowed the Mister to get several pictures of him today.
He is a simple, non-poisonous garden snake about 3 feet long who does a good job of keeping the rodent population down.  We live near a lake and our neighbors have lots of bird feeders so there are lots of small rats and chipmunks.  He takes care of the control of them.
We may not see him again all summer.  The only way we know that he is probably around is in the control of the varmints we don't like.
In case you are going to ask me.  No, I do not know exactly what kind of snake he is.  Just non-poisonous and common.