Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Stocking

Been a busy bee getting last minute things done for Christmas!  This quick and easy stocking is for my hairdresser who has a room in her house decorated in pink, black and white.  Had found a fabric with poodles with bright pink noses and antlers--still amazed "Rudolf the Red Nosed Poodle"  was ever printed--containing the perfect coloration.  She loves all things handmade and keeps our entire family well groomed, so it was a delight to make for her.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coffee Cozy

Better Homes and Gardens most recent issue of "Quilts and More" (Fall 2010) had a cute little project for your coffee drinking buddy--"Perk Me Up."  Designer Veronica Koh Eischeid did a great job of writing easy to understand directions and the project came together in less than an hour.

Made this little cozy for my dear friend's Friday night coffee.  We've been meeting at a local Starbucks every week for the past five years while our kids attend youth group and found it to be a wonderfully therapeutic way to end a busy week.  Now our oldest daughters are coming with us and, in spite of sitting on the other side of the room, are continuing the tradition of making time for lifelong friends.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Year's First Christmas Gift

My wonderful husband has been accompanying me to The Village Quilter lately to pick up my Buck-A-Block so we can spend some extra time together.  He's been great at finding projects he'd like me to make and this month's find was a Biscuit Basket by Aunties Two.

Perfect size for mega biscuits!

Bird's eye view
Using a Moda jelly roll  and a roll of 1 3/4 inch stiffy stuff, the basket came together in a day. (If you recognize the fabric, could you please post the name in the comment section?  I always try to give credit where credit is due and I can't remember the name--a suspected episode of "Sometimers.")  The directions are clear and technique is easy to follow.  Was a little nervous about the binding since the basket barely fit into my sewing machine, but it was just as easy to do as a quilt binding.

Have an idea of who in my family would appreciate this cute little basket, but since they are regular readers of my blog, I don't want to spoil the surprise.  Excited to finish a project in a day, especially with the multitude of interruptions in my day--doctors' appointments, dishes, laundry, meals, etc.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anatomy of a Swap

Some might wonder why I don't post more finished projects, so thought I might take you on a journey through the process of hosting a swap.  The swaps you'll see here are from the BlockBuddy Yahoo group.

First step is to select a swap. We have several running at the same time.  The most popular right now are the Chicklets, an invention of my imagination.   Chicklets are 4 1/2 inch four patches using white on white and a flavored gum color.  The flavor of the month was grape.
Lots and lots of grape chicklets!!
Just love all the colors!
Another favorite are the Country Nine-Patches.  Found this charming block here: .  Not only are they addictive to make, but thinking they are going to make a fabulous quilt.

Classic blue and white--can't wait to start assembling the top!

A quick and easy block is the Double Four Patch.  If you'd like to try this versatile block, directions are located here: .  Saw one in a recent quilt show--just love the classic blue and white set in a visually pleasing way.

 This cute little four patch is called a Stripey Four-Patch.  These darling blocks are done in white-on-white and 1930 reproduction fabrics.  If you only have fifteen minutes to sew, these blocks should be your first choice.  Am partial to them being set on-point, which creates a tessellating design.  My black and batik top is done, just waiting for the quilting.
 Sometimes we just swap components of blocks.  Been swapping half-square triangles for months and am growing a delightful collection for a future scrap quilt.

Dozens and dozens of half-square triangles!  Oh, the possibilities!

And, we swap 2 1/2 inch strips called "Zippy Strips."

Galaxy Star
Last, but not least, we have a block of the month.  The pattern for this month's star is located at under the BOM section.
Once all the swaps are sent to me, I distribute them to their new homes where they live happily every after!
Waiting for the mail carrier to whisk away the squishies to their new home!
If one or more of these swaps appeal to you, please come and join us at BlockBuddies!  Go to and sign-up.  You'll find lovely, talented ladies, fun activities and boatloads of swaps!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October's Star

If you're ever in the mood for a Block of the Month, would like to invite you to my website, !  This BOM is the third I've run for BlockBuddies, but the first I've offered on my website.  The blocks from January to October are up now and November is ready and waiting for next month.

Appreciate your feedback!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Your Turn Round Robin!

Block Buddies is doing a special project--an "It's Your Turn Round Robin" in the style of Pat Sloan's quilter's activity by the same name!  Due to time restraints, we're going to just have four members in each group and everyone's going to make one block that fits the theme.

As you can see, my theme is Christmas.  Used a Nancy Halversen design for the Nativity and the Karen Kay Buckley method of machine applique.  The background fabric at the top has Psalms scrolling across, filling the sky like I imagine the angels did when proclaiming His birth all those years ago.  (Luke 2:13-14)

Am hoping for lots of angels, sheep (am very fond of the black ones) and a star.  Am fortunate the group I'm in is filled with incredibly talented ladies who will do an exceptional job.  Will be sure to post when it's finished!

If this kind of activity appeals to you, please feel free to check out Block Buddies for yourself!  Here's a link .We have loads of activities and one is sure to appeal to you!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Place For My Patterns

My dear, sweet, long-suffering, patient and all around wonderful husband has spent the better part of this week checking website names and setting up a new place for my original patterns to live.  It still needs a bit of "finishing" (imagine sheep frolicking around a quilting frame), but for now, my first mystery quilt and Block of the Month are free at .
Please go visit and sign my guestbook!  Would love to hear your feedback!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"Summer Fun" Notebook Challenge Quilt

My big gift for Christmas last year was a Cricut electronic cutting machine. Have enjoyed the various paper related projects I've been making with it--love the accuracy of the cutting and the ability to manipulate shapes by size and orientation. When my DH gave it to me, he said he thought it could be used with fabric and I could use it in my quilting. Sweeter words were never spoken!

First, felt I needed to become familiar with how to use the machine with paper before I could start working with fabric. Then, after six months of practicing (and a smidgen of procrastination) the perfect project came along--a notebook quilt challenge with Love Apples Quilters. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally try fabric with the Cricut.

There really isn't much written about how to use fabric in a Cricut machine on the internet. What little I did read suggested ironing on fusible adhesive and using the paper as a stabilizer, putting it on the sticky mat, placing it into the machine and cutting away. Well, it doesn't really work that way. Found that sewable fusible peels away too easily from the backing, although did work on simple shapes. Peeling off the backing and then placing the fabric directly onto the sticky board didn't work because the sewable fusible doesn't provide enough stability. So, in a final attempt, I used heavy duty fusible on the fabric and placed it directly onto the mat and had success! (Took me five attempts to get the word "Summer" to cut correctly due to it's curlicue style. It felt really good to conquer that hurdle!!)

In addition to using heavy duty fusible, it was necessary to slow the cutting down to a minimum, increase the pressure and blade length (used it set on 4).

After learning a few of the secrets of using fabric on the Cricut, thought it would be a great project to test out using textile glitter to add a little sparkle in the lightening bugs' tales and on the flag of the sandcastle.

Here's how it turned out:

Notebook Quilt (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) using "Stretch Your Imagination" cartridge

The little guy in the lower left corner is a cricket in his grasshopper pajamas--our girls are very concerned that crickets are black and grasshoppers are green, but a black cricket wouldn't have shown up on such a dark background. You have to love their desire for accuracy!

This little project, learning curve included, took me about a day to complete. Would love to make one for every season and am working on some more layouts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Sewing Room--The Cleaned Up Version

Here's my little corner of the house dedicated to all my creative endeavors. About nine years ago, my sweet husband realized that my unfinished basement space was not going to allow me to do all the things I wanted to do, so he hired a handyman to put up walls, the cabinets and a custom cutting table. It was so white and bright back then, it looked like you were caught in a snowstorm. (Years later, he build me an addition to the family room to house my longarm machine, but that's a tale for another time!)

Over the years, the whiteness has been toned down by the millions of things now living in the space. Here is a photo looking into my 12 foot by 10 foot room from the girls' play/tv/computer area.

You can sort of see my design wall on the left side of the picture. My ironing board is set up underneath it so I have to get up and down frequently to keep myself moving, lest I solidify in one position. The cabinets hold mostly kits, assorted UFO's and other crafting supplies.

Looking in from the outside

This picture is taken from the other side, showing my Horn sewing table and Brother Quilt Club machine. Love the large space behind my machine!

More Elfa storage for the notions--great little bins!

Facing south, you can see that I have a modest collection of books. My stash is contained in the bins from the Container Store. Keep explaining to my DH how I really don't have that much fabric compared to most quilters I know. He has yet to believe me.

Not every color or type of fabric has its own bin....some day!

Underneath the cutting table is more storage of batting, ribbons, quilt tops and scrapbooking supplies. Don't know what I would do without my Container Store storage units! Besides, this offers a wonderful place to hide when everyone is looking for me!

Best hiding spot in the house!

Thank you for taking the five cent tour of my sewing space! If you have any suggestions on how I could improve the storage or organization, please don't hesitate to comment!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our New Mailbox

The time had come to replace the mailbox and it's pole. We knew it was time because the pole was rotten all the way through and no amount of boards stuffed at the base would prevent it from tipping over.

Rather than bring bodily harm to the nicest mail carrier we've ever had, the decision was made to replace the entire set-up. When the new mailbox came home, it gave me an idea--have seen painted flowers, light houses and John Deere tractors, but never a quilt block. Having the nicest and most long-suffering husband in the world, asked if it would be okay for me to decorate it. Thankfully (and predictably), he agreed.

Gathered my supplies--an EQ print out of a variable star block, some paint pens, chalk and a ruler. Colored the back of the print out with chalk and then traced it onto the mailbox.

The image was a bit fuzzy, but still usable. Settled down for a relaxing coloring session.

Here are the first two colors finished....

and here is the block all done! (Before the purple was dry, it was very pink, hence the smudge in the square.) Then I got to work on the other side. When both sides had their respective blocks, sprayed it with a satin sealant.

Here is our new mailbox out on the curb, waiting the hundreds of swaps to arrive. Thinking the mail carrier won't have the heart to deliver bills to such quilty mailbox.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fat Quarter Bags

Hard to imagine it's almost been a year since we went to the Knoxville AQS show last July. (Harder still that it's taken me this long to finally use the patterns I purchased there!) Tennessee was a fantastic place to go for vacation--enjoyed the Smokey Mountains (met a black bear on the trail), Gatlinburg(Ripley's Aquarium is very entertaining) and Dollywood.

While at the quilt show, found a booth carrying patterns by a company called, "P. S. Gone Quilting." Very cute patterns were available--could have bought one of each, but ended up purchasing one for making lined drawstring bags from a single fat quarter, another for a red and white scrap quilt and a third for a collapsible bottle holder using tiny embroidery hoops.

Thought the drawstring bags would be a great item for Love Apple Quilters' 2011 Quilt Show boutique, so stole some time away from the usual schedule and tried it out.

What fun! The bag went together in less than an hour and provided all kinds of opportunities for embellishments! Added some beads to the coordinating ribbon ties, just to add a little bit of sparkle.

Did give the ice cream cones as a gift bag to a young sewer for her birthday and it was well received. Hope everyone who comes to the quilt show is equally pleased!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Couple Completed Projects

A friend was having a birthday, so thought a tablerunner would be a nice way to celebrate. Found the pattern and fabric at Calico and Cotton in Ocean City, NJ.

The next project was a prize for a contest I had with BlockBuddies, my on-line yahoo group. We were starting a new swap and she picked the winning name.

It's a chocolate covered strawberry pin cushion. Just for fun, put some stuffing in a dish to look like whipped cream--the perfect fat-free dessert!! The winner seemed to appreciate my humble offerings and put it to good use.

Now, off to finish a UFO!

Friday, April 16, 2010

New Jersey's 9th Annual Shop Hop

Today I finished my third NJ ShopHop--two days early! This year, there were eleven stores, as far north as Vernon and as far south as Swedesboro. Chocolate colored charm squares, quilt patterns, chocolate related recipes and pewter necklace charms were offered by each store.

Chocolate Charms

Mercifully, not only were the store hours extended, but they added a day. This additional day allowed me to work within my family's schedule. Hopped at six stores the first day, three stores the next and two on the third. My DH was able to come with me for the last day and we spent a lovely afternoon at the beach, walking the boardwalk.

After much deliberating, decided we liked the quilt offered at Calico and Cotton in Ocean City. Here's the finishing kit and pattern, Delectable Mountains:

Now I'm itching to make this quilt so I can quilt it on my new frame!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Newest Member of Our Family

My dear husband and I went to the American Quilt Society's show in Lancaster, PA in March. As you can see by the name on the tag, a HandiQuilter Avante came home with me! Am so excited at the idea of quilting a twelve inch block on point. Of course, will need to practice quite a bit first!

The easiest part of the process was bringing home the machine in the back of our minivan--it only weighs 65 pounds. While waiting for the table to arrive, the pink sarcophagus lived in the dining room.

Almost two weeks later, the table arrived Thursday, April 8! The UPS lady not only had a few choice words for me, but also had an asthma attack when she got all 255 pounds of table onto the front porch. Paul, being the best husband in the world, got right to work putting it together. Since there was no way for us to lift the boxes and put them into the house, he brought it in, piece by piece.

The front porch Thursday night

Once the first five of fifteen steps were competed (three hours later), my table really started to take shape! Amazing how much room a 12 foot table really needs! Have seven months to figure out where the Christmas tree is going to go, since it traditionally goes in that corner.

By Saturday morning, we freed the machine from its box and put it on the table--just perfect! Using the enclosed DVD, was able to load the quilt and start practicing. Am amazed at how simple it is to use--feel like I can get started on a quilt right away! Thankfully, I have at least twelve tops to quilt, so practice isn't going to be a problem.

This little gizmo is the bobbin winder--it was the only component I was able to pick up myself, weighing in at around ten pounds.

Am very excited to have this great new toy, err, I mean tool, to finish my quilts. Most of all, am thankful for a darling husband who encourages me (sparing no expense) in all that I do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break Sewing Class

This year's spring break is a little unusual this year due to the snow--our older daughter had only Monday off while our younger daughter had the week off. Having only one child to entertain allowed for a long-overdue sewing lesson with her dear friend, a young lady quite enamoured with sewing.

Dug out my first sewing machine, a Singer I purchased when we first were married. This machine is something of a dinosaur, but provides a full education without the risk of overwhelming the user.

After finding a beginner's appropriate apron pattern (cooking is another of their passions), I took the girls to Joann's and had them to pick out whatever fabric they'd like. One young lady selected a chicken print for the main part of the apron with an egg fabric for the pocket. (Very clever!!)

Chicken and Egg Apron
Our daughter selected cherries for her main section with a back pocket--Mary Engelbreit would be so proud! (And who will be able to tell if it gets dirty?)
Cherries Jubilee

And, since Father's Day is around the corner (more honestly, at that time of year, I'm either at a loss for gift ideas or up to my eyeballs in deadlines), decided to make a very handsome one for my sweet husband. Here it is modeled by our older daughter....

Celebrating Daddy!

The girls did all the pressing and sewing--thought we'd save using a rotary cutter for another lesson. Am so very proud of their efforts and how naturally talented they are! Hope they continue to enjoy sewing!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love Apple Quilters' 30th Anniversary

In a time when so many organizations and businesses are ceasing to be, Love Apple Quilters celebrated thirty years of giving quilts, educating quilters and providing a haven for ladies to enjoy each other's company. I'm so pleased to be part of this organization for the past eight years! The ladies and gentleman trusted me to be the president this year, which is a great honor.

Our February festivities were postponed a month due to snow, but thirty years together is not a celebration that can be contained in only one meeting! For our first installment, we had special chocolate favors provided by The Sweet Stop (, fat quarters, tea, cookies and an anniversary challenge.
The Anniversary Challenge was to make a quilt depicting what Love Apples means to you in red, green, yellow, white and a "love apple," also known as a pomegranate.

Here's my contribution:

The design is bits and pieces from various sources--the friendship hearts were from a magazine and the machine appliqued love apples were from EQ6. Was glad to find a pomegranate quilting pattern that fit perfectly in the spaces without any adjustments!

Although I didn't win the popular vote, did receive an award of my own. A lady I respect as a person and one of the most talented quilters I know, told me she voted for my quilt. Am still basking in the glow of that remark!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gift Card Holders

Have some gift cards to give to special friends, but just handing over an envelope with the cards inside makes me feel guilty for not being able to come up with the "perfect" gift. In an effort to improve the presentation, thought a customized wallet would be appreciated.
For the young gentleman of the group, I made a bi-fold wallet using a free pattern found on . The pattern is okay, but there has to be a better way than recommended to do the bias binding. After four attempts to make flat corners with the binding folded around the edges, decided to open the binding and sew it on like a quilt binding. The last attempt worked the best, but wasn't as perfect as I would have liked. Hopefully, he'll have so much money stuffed in his gift, no one will notice a wrinkle here or there!
For the two young ladies, one a teen and the other a near-teen, I made cell phone holders. Being "fashionistas," they like accessories for their cell phones. Being sisters, reflecting their personalities is a must. So, while shopping at Olde City Quilts in Burlington, I noticed a Quiltsmart cell phone holder pattern. Glad I got to make two of those--very, very clever and easy to do! Found some coordinating buttons and trims at Joann's and am pleased with how they turned out....and our own teen-aged daughter gave them her stamp of approval.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My Christmas Gift

Rereading the title of my blog, I'm reminded of its focus, but can't help but write about it. My dear, sweet husband purchased me a new toy that is providing me with not only hours of entertainment, but quilt inspiration. It's a Cricut--an electronic die cut machine, fully equipped with four cartridges. (I have since purchased a fifth--who can resist paper dolls?)
My first project was a card for a sweet little boy's birthday. Thankfully, the cartidges include instructions for projects and this one worked perfectly. The envelope size was a little tricky to figure out, but after three tries, got one that worked.
We spent a quiet New Year's Day together, which gave me a chance to play with some of my own ideas. Now, I've never claimed to be a paper artist or scrapbooker, so I'm sure my ideas are quite primitive to those of you who are--just wanted to make a few "thank you" cards, cover a book and try a little gift bag.

Not unhappy with the way they turned out, but would make a few different choices next time.

Having worked part way through the learning curve, am now ready to try fabric--there are a few quilt blocks I'm eager to try.