Saturday, September 29, 2012


Earlier in the summer I decided to find a way to clear up some of my WIPs so I made a list and put the numbers in a jar.  Each time I asked my DH to pull one out for me.

In August he pulled a number from my WIP jar and it was to be completed that month. 
He pulled #8, which was a bunch of extra 9-Patch blocks that I had made for another project.  I had planned to use them for the backing of the first project and, then, I changed my mind.
I set them aside with the idea of making more blocks if necessary and to put them into another bed-size quilt.  The longer I looked at them the less I wanted to make that large quilt.

When I pulled them out after their number was drawn in August, I still was not inspired.

I tried several layouts and nothing was keeping my attention.  See my post at

August was a very busy life month for us.  We had the Longest Yard Sale and my husband had his first hip replacement surgery.  This cut into my studio time and WIP #3 did not get finished so I carried it into September. 
I was still struggling with a layout.  I wanted something that was un-traditional with these traditional blocks. 

At first I put brown frames on the 9-Patches that were light in the corners and I put neutral frames on the blocks that had green in the corners.
This gave me an uneven number of blocks.  I tried the above layout and knew I would need more blocks.  This layout was predictable and not terribly interesting.

Here is another predictable layout.  Still not exciting.

So I tried these checkerboard squares and tried offsetting the rows.  Nope, not working!

Then I came upon a new layout.  I chose a lighter neutral fabric for the setting triangles to help "float" the interior pattern.  I also chose an asymmetrical arrangement of blocks.  It is not predictable; It is a little bit nontraditional; It is a bit modern.  I like it!

This time I used one fabric for the backing.  It has the word "Believe" on it.  I meander quilted it using an olive shade of thread, (Superior # 617), which blends well with so many fabrics.

Lil Bit helped me put on the binding.

She watched the needle very closely.  She didn't even mind when the quilt was piled on top of her.

Lil Bit and I are very happy with the finish of this WIP.  "Believe the Dream" has turned out to be a fun quilt after all.  We can snuggle under this to watch TV this winter.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


From Espresso Junction to Lemonade Stand.  The original pattern was done in shades of brown with black accents.  I wanted a yellow quilt so I changed mine to yellows and teals/blues and re-named it "Lemonade Stand".
These were the fabrics I wanted to use.  To these I added some leftover strips from some other projects.

The first step was to create strata strips with the yellows that would be cut into blocks.

Next, I chose the teals/blues for this quilt.  The fabric at the very top of this picture is the fabric to be used to make the snowball blocks with the strata squares.

The other fabric used for making the snowball block was a neutral.  It is difficult to see the pattern in this fabric, but the name of the fabric is "Whitecaps".

I started making the snowball blocks.  There are  a lot of these to make and all are not configured the same way.

Trimming off the corners of the snowball blocks left these little triangles.  Not sure how I will use them, but, for now, I will simply hold on to them and see what comes to mind later.
A sneak preview of four blocks.  Do I like the color combo??? 
I.  LOVE.  IT!!!

First section is complete!

The first side inner borders are added.  Love the border triangle color contrast.

It has taken me a little while to get back to finishing this project.  Here is the top with the teal/blues border added.

Guess who is sitting on top of the quilt???

I wanted to show you these interesting scissors that a friend bought for me at a Sew and Vac store in Scottsboro, AL when we were on retreat.

I hope you can see that they are curved.  It makes it so much easier to cut around things.  I used them to trim the batting for the quilt sandwich.

I laid the batting out on the floor and put the backing on top of it and used the curved scissors to cut the batting to size.  Since the scissors were curved they did not get caught in the carpet at all.  It was so much easier than using my Dressmaker's Shears.  By the way, they are made be Gingher and only cost me a couple dollars.  I love a bargain.

This backing is made from the leftovers from the front of the quilt.

Of course, Lil Bit has to be in the picture!

The finished quilt hanging on my porch rail in the early morning light.

My friend, Ava, is teaching a class using this pattern at our local quilt shop, Sew Bee It, in November.  She asked if I would let her hang my quilt with her sample of the quilt to show the two different colorways.  I was happy to drop off my quilt to the shop owner to hang for a couple months to promote her class.

Another finish for September!


Monday, September 24, 2012


On September 2 I posted that I was joining a challenge issued by Bonnie Hunter to spend one hour a day doing a hand stitching project of some type.

I have three projects that I want to see progress on: Tiny Town Applique; Star Hexagon; and a small preprinted quilt that I am hand quilting.

For the past three weeks I have spent my "One Hour of Simply Needle and Thread" time on getting the next round on my Hexagon Star piece.  It is amazing how much I accomplished in such a short amount of time each day.

Now I will graph out the next round and begin it.  I still don't know how many rounds I will have.  I am letting this project evolve on its own.


Sunday, September 23, 2012


My last post was on my birthday.  What a wonderful birthday I have had this year!  That was over two weeks ago though.

This has been a busy month. Since my hubby had his first hip replacement surgery about 4 weeks ago, I have been the official chauffeur for him.  I have driven him to therapy three times each week; then he went back to work Tuesday a week ago and that meant taking him and picking him up.  Reminded me of carpool days with my children when you could barely sandwich a load of laundry and maybe  short trip to the market in and it would be time to head for pick up again.

He officially passed his "driving test" on Saturday and will now be driving himself for a while.  At least until he does the next surgery in about 4 weeks. 

I took a look at my studio and could not understand why it was such a wreck since I have not spent much time in there lately.  Every surface was piled up with stuff.  There was no way I could even begin to sew.
Just look at this . . .

The most important two things on this chest are my rulers and my mug hot pad.  I doubt that you can see either one in this picture.  What you do see are some "fish" wine bottles that my DH brought home from a yard sale months ago to add to my collection.  You also see a Zippy Strippy bag that I just plopped down after my Pbees and I finished our workshop.  The rest is just a "duke's mixture" of things that were not put away.  This chest is immediately inside the door and always ends up being the catchall surface.

Now, doesn't that look much better?  I love that little mini 9-Patch quilt that a friend gave me.  It was hand pieced and hand quilted by Betty Hicks in 1994.  We were both members of the Hamilton County Home Demonstration Club at that time.  The pincushion that is set on top of a terra cotta flower pot saucer was another gift from a guild when I did a program for them.  I think it was made by the late Betty King.

This end of the room has my cutting table and another design wall.  Look at all that leftover batting and stuff piled up on that table and the little TV tray beside it and another stack of crates and on and on...

This is better.  Now I can get going on the project at hand.

Yes, there is a sewing machine back there.  Of course there is another Modern project on the front of this table and a hand sewing project on the right side plus a stack of stuff on the left that includes a bin of selvages.

Now, I am ready to continue on this September WIP and hopefully finish it.

Whew! what a day.  However, it does feel good to have a clean workspace again.

Here is another distraction I have these days.  She is so adorable and I simply have to stop and play with her all the time.

During this month I have worked on a few other projects which will be topics for future blogs.  Keep watching.

Thank you again for stopping by my studio.  I appreciate your comments, too.  When you comment I feel like we have had a special visit.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Well, just let me tell you that I was in the third grade before I knew that my birthday did NOT come on Labor Day each year.  My mom always said that I was born on Labor Day, so I thought that meant that was when my birthday happened.  In the third grade, this Miss Smarty-Pants girl informed me in front of all my classmates that my birthday had to come on a different day each year.  I went home and asked my mother what day was my birthday and she said "You were born on Labor Day".  "But", I said, "Miss Smarty-Pants so-in-so said that Labor Day cannot be my birthday every year."  So my mom explained to me that my birthday is September 6th.  Now that I am older and can celebrate my birthday whenever I want, I choose to celebrate my birthday for the entire week of Labor Day.  So there!!!

This is the Labor Day Week!!!

Over the weekend my daughter, Heather, and one of my grandsons, Nick, came for a visit and brought me a birthday present.
Another flamingo for my "flock".  This one is wearing a tin "grass" skirt.  I just love her 'tude.

Yesterday a friend of mine rang the door bell and arrived with something for me.

Balloons . . .

A cute card with something "special" inside.

and cupcakes!!!  She told me this gift was from my Piecemakers Bee group, whom I lovingly refer to as the Pbees.  These wonderful gals meet with me monthly and we have such a fun time!  Thank you Pbees!!!!

This is a special year!  I am on the verge of entering the seventh decade of my life.  This amazes me.  I have always thought I would live a long life, but little did I know that the years past 50 would be my absolute best!  It does not seem like I am one of those "old ladies". 

I feel that I am in the prime of my life and am so happy living my life to the fullest.  Each day I choose what I want to do and follow through with lots of activities.  I enjoy walking and doing Yoga and weight lifting and cooking and quilting and painting.  I try to incorporate all of this physical exercise into every day.  It is a great feeling to know that I can still bend over to touch my toes and that I can do squats and get back up.  LOL

A few years ago my sister gave me this card and I framed it to hang in my Studio.

"Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it." 

I have chosen my work and I am diligent in pursuing my journey.  I love to quilt and I love to teach.  Two things I do almost daily!
It is critical for me to produce and to use every minute of my time.  Sometimes I sit and meditate and other times I make something.  I learned the importance of meditation several years ago.  It is such a rejuvenating exercise.  I used to think that meditation required me to sit in a dark room with special music.  Now I know that any time I spend with myself and listen to my inner soul is meditation.

In the next five years my work plan includes finishing as many WIPs as I possibly can in my Studio.  I have many of these incomplete projects that I am still interested in doing. 
I have devised a plan to do this and each month I have my hubby choose a WIP number from my jar and that is the one I work on that month. Sometimes the project takes more than one month. I am okay with that.  I do not wear a watch because I want to live the moment not watch the moment.  So I simply work on a project until it is completed - whether it takes a week or more than a month.  Taking the pressure off of "should" and "have to" has made me a stronger and happier woman.

 There are other unfinished projects that I have decided I am no longer excited about.  I have already passed on a few of these to a friend of mine who rescues "orphan" blocks and re-purposes them and donates them to charity.  I will start another box for her.

An immediate high priority task is to clean up my studio and organize all the leftover fabrics and patterns that I have used in the last 3 months.  I could tell myself that I will be more organized in the years to come and will always keep my studio orderly and tidy.  However, I have lived with me long enough to know that I am not a neatnik by nature.  I just have to tackle the Studio when it gets so messy I cannot stand it anymore. In the meantime, I will also be creating something. 

It is important to me to live life to the fullest and include my friends in my daily journey.  Over the years I have begun to cherish my friends who make me smile, challenge me to think, and who just brighten my day when I am with them.  These are the gals that I share my quilting passion with; they are those who engage in conversations that require me to try a new idea on before I discard it; and there are others who are my total opposite and I love listening to their passions.  I have a diverse group of friends --  some are artists, some are musicians, some are geeks, and some have such a super sense of humor that they keep me laughing until I have tears.  A few of my friends live a very structured life and they challenge me to appreciate their need to have that lifestyle.

My family brings me the self confidence to stand on my own two feet.  They have been the structure that I have needed to keep my feet on the ground when I tend to run off on tangents. I will give my all to my family when they need me and I strive to always accept them where they are in their journey. 

Coming to the end of my sixties has taught me that the majority of life is not about me.  Making others feel special gives me greater satisfaction than being the center of attention myself.

I know my strengths as well as my shortcomings.  I choose to focus on the strengths.  Shortcomings make a statement on their own and I find it unnecessary to emphasize them.  If I continually tell myself positive things, then I will hear more good than bad.

All of these ruminations must come to a close!  I am going to celebrate my birthday for the rest of the week and then I am going to live each day of the upcoming years as if it is the only day I have.  Would you like to join me?


Sunday, September 2, 2012


One of my favorite quilt teacher/designers is Bonnie Hunter.  She has issued a challenge for each one to do an hour of Needle and Thread time by Hand. 

I have three projects to work on.  The first is a preprinted small quilt that I am hand quilting.

I am also working on my Hexie project.
This is the one I am starting with today.

This is the fifth section to be added to the total project.  You can see that the red hexies need to be added and then there is another row of white.

This is Lil Bit and me in our favorite quilting chair.  Currently we are doing this hand sewing in the Living Room with the DH as he recovers from his first Hip Replacement Surgery.
My third hand project involves applique.  This is Tiny Town that I started about 2 years ago.

I will post pics as I go along.  This will certainly make a difference in my unfinished hand projects.