Yearly Archives: 2014

Looking Forward

Happy New Year!! I have been away from the computer for the past week and a half or so spending time with my children. All four kids plus my daughter-in-law were here for a week over the Christmas Holiday. What a treat. I love having them all at home. The last of them left this afternoon. We had a great time together – lots of time for visiting, playing cards, seeing relatives and eating, eating, eating. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season as well.

Business first! In my last post I was celebrating my 51st post and 51st follower with a little giveaway. Mari, who writes at the Academic Quilter, won the giveaway. Today I packed up a box of treats and will get that shipped of to her tomorrow. Congrats Mari!  If you haven’t ever popped over to her blog, you might want to do that. She is a clever writer and a talented quilter – which makes for good reading!

As with many of you, I have been considering what goals I want to set for the coming year. Quilty resolutions, you might say. I have decided upon just a few. Being a list-maker and goal setter, this works well for me. Rather than list off 20 goals and only accomplishing a few of them, I am trying to be realistic. Here are five goals that I feel are attainable.

  1. Finish my three unfinished quilts before starting a new one. Once I get a quilt top done, I am so excited to start the next one. But then I have unusable quilt tops staring at me in my sewing room. Considering the work that went into those almost-quilts, I want to finish and enjoy them. Right now I have a nine-patch batik quilt top, my Aurifil BOM quilt, and my RSC14 patchwork blocks to sash and assemble. So, first things first, I will finish these before beginning a new quilt. (This will NOT be easy for me but should be really gratifying.)
  2. I am often inspired by Amanda Jean Nyberg who writes at Crazy Mom Quilts. She is both an amazing quilter and teacher. Over the past few months she has mentioned that she is on a “fabric fast”. She, like many quilters lately, is trying to sew strictly from her stash. She hasn’t bought fabric for several months! I bought a ton of fabric over the past year. I intend to sew from the stash in my sewing room and use many of the beautiful pieces that I have. My plan is to “shop” my stash and sort it into a few projects. Of course I won’t begin those until I complete number one. See above! 🙂 I will have to purchase batting and I am not sure I have yardage large enough for quilt backs but I absolutely have enough to piece a number of quilts. It will be interesting to see how long I can avoid buying new fabric. As you know, this is one expensive hobby. Not buying fabric for a while will be good for the budget!
  3. Take more time to enjoy the process of piecing. When I am piecing a quilt top I become so anxious to see the finished result. It seems like this anticipation causes me to hurry, which isn’t a good thing for a couple of reasons. First, it makes for sloppy piecing and second, it takes away from the enjoyment of the process. I love the whole bit – selecting the fabric I want to use, the pattern for the quilt, then cutting the pieces and making the blocks. I want to focus on slowing down. I am confident that just by slowing down, my blocks will be more precise and my points more accurate.
  4. Improve my photography skills. The pictures that I use on my blog aren’t as nice as I would like so I intend to learn more about photography. I take millions of pictures but usually just candids of my kids. I would like to focus on learning how to better use my camera and set up my pictures. For Christmas I received a photo light box from one of my boys. This will really help with the pictures I take for my Etsy listings. I have only just started to play with this. I also asked a friend of mine that is talented with her camera to give me some pointers. Making progress on this goal already!
  5. Finally, I plan to learn a bit about quilt restoration. I have two quilts that need to be restored. One is a log cabin quilt and was the first quilt I ever made. You can read the story of that quilt here. The other is a pretty, antique quilt that I was given. If you look at the picture below you will see that the center of the star is shot. There are quite a few diamonds that are threadbare and in need of repair. It would be great to learn how to replace these pieces. (I assume by applique?)


I have been working on goal number one this morning. I am trying to finish the quilting on my Aurifil BOM quilt so I can get the binding sewn on. I made a scrappy binding, which is a first for me. (Check out that pile of Clover binding clips. My Christmas gift from me to me!) This should be my last finish for 2014 – if I can get that binding on today!


So it boils down to these five goals; finish my UFO’s, sew from my stash, improve my piecing by slowing down, focus on my photography skills (hah, no pun intended!), and study up on quilt restoration. If I can accomplish these I will be satisfied. It seems like a reasonable list. We shall see! Who else is setting goals? Let me know so I can go over and read your list. All the best in the new year!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Linky Tuesday. Please take a look at these wonderful blogs. Their link is at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

The Holy’s and the Jolly’s – Christmas Cards

When I was growing up (the 1960’s) it seemed like we received tons of Christmas cards.  Maybe my parents were just incredibly popular or maybe, because there was no internet, email, facebook, blogging, instagram, or twitter, that was how people wished each other a Merry Christmas.  Actually, it was probably both. But really, we received a billion cards each season. My mom would string them up and display them or keep them in baskets to look at. I loved checking the mailbox across the street and bringing in a veritable pile of cards. (I still love checking the mailbox which is 1/2 mile from my house and usually only contains junk mail or the occasional bill that can’t be paid on-line. Old habits die hard.)

The best part was after Christmas because then my sisters and I got to “play” with the cards. We hoarded them, traded them, and sorted them. Remember, I have five sisters and even so, there were enough cards for all of us to have some. This was a ritual for us and was something to do after the excitement of Christmas had mellowed and we still had that second week of school vacation. When we sorted them, we classified them in two groups;  the ‘Holy’s’ and the ‘Jolly’s’.  You probably know which cards fell into each pile.

The Holy’s:

or maybe –

These were fine.  They were pretty and, attending Catholic school for the first eight years, we knew this was what Christmas was (supposed to be) all about.  But then there were these – the Jolly’s.

In large part (no pun intended) isn’t this what Christmas is about to a kid? It was for me.

I wish people still sent cards in the mail. I know that the postage has become ridiculously expensive and usually I am up-to-date on the news and what everyone’s kids look like because of Facebook but I love the tradition of finding a card in the mailbox! Such a simple pleasure.

Christmas is just around the corner.  As my family says, only three more sleeps and my boys will be home.  Time for major grocery shopping and a bit of house cleaning as well as finishing up the gift wrapping. This will leave no time for sewing or blogging.  I have still one gift that I am making and I am fairly certain it will not be done in time for Christmas. It is turning out so pretty and I don’t want to hurry it. The recipient will have to wait patiently and I think (hope?) it will be done shortly after Christmas. 🙂

Before I wish you all a Merry Christmas though, I have one bit of news. I am so excited! This is my 51st post and I just got my 51st follower (between email followers and Bloglovin followers combined.) Doesn’t that seem auspicious? Fortuitous? Just sort of cool?  I had hoped to have 50 followers before the end of 2014 – that was a goal I had set when I started posting earlier this summer. I made it! I was so nervous when I first posted on Needle and Foot – that feeling of what if I have a party and no one shows up? But look, all of you showed up!!  I have had almost 20,000 page views so far. Yikes!!! That makes me happy.

Giving thanks for the friends that I have made through this little blog of mine, I want to do a small giveaway. If you are a follower of mine, leave a comment as to your preference – tea or coffee?  Easy peasy. I will draw a name in a couple of days and send the preferred treat off to a lucky winner. (Be specific – coffee – whole bean or ground? Decaf or Caffeinated? Teabags or loose tea? Have a special flavor that you love?) We have some really yummy local teas and coffees and I am looking forward to treating someone to this. Note:  be sure that I have an email address to reach you if you are chosen.

By the way, I am not going anywhere close to the post office until after the holidays.  Etsy sales were good this month and I have been going to the post office constantly so I will mail this off after Christmas.

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season. Hope you are able to spend it with your friends or family as the case may be.  See you in the new year!



The Spirit of the Season

The holidays are crazy sometimes. I am one that can get all wound up about how much needs to be done, making lists and running around far more than is necessary. But over the last couple of days I had a couple of sweet reminders about what the holidays are truly about. Let’s just say there are loads of very kind people in this world and many of them just happen to be quilters!

Here is the first story:   Last week I participated in the Sew Mama Sew Blogger Giveaway day. I asked people to enter by commenting with three words that come to mind when they think of Christmas. I loved reading through all the comments. They were heartfelt. My daughter picked the winner, number 48, who happened to be Mara from Secretly Stitching. It so happens that Mara lives in Greece and my giveaway was not open internationally (the postage to ship a bit of fabric internationally just didn’t make sense.) I emailed Mara and she explained that she was entering the US – Domestic only giveaways for a friend of hers in Texas. She thought that if she happened to win, she would ask the hostess of that giveaway to mail her prize to her friend in Texas. She said this friend could use something fun in her life right now and she hoped this would happen. And it did. I mailed off a package to Shirley in Texas on behalf of Mara, from Greece. Shirley, you have a sweet friend in Mara.  By the way, if you haven’t read any of the posts on Secretly Stitching, take a hop over there. Mara has a fun giveaway posted today. I won’t spoil it for you – go take a look!

Second reminder came about this morning.  I was reading some of my favorite blogs and opened the most recent post on Diary of a Quilter, blogged by Amy Smart (one of my quilty heroines.) Her topic today is three ways to give this Christmas season. Each of them is sewing/quilting related and each touched me. I supported all three. Amy describes a GoFundMe that she is running to finance a sewing machine or two for a village in Ecuador.

Amy also mentions a woman who is making quilts for chronically ill children and needs financial support. Finally she talks about a woman in New York who is teaching senior citizens to quilt and needs fabric donations. (I bet there isn’t a one of us that doesn’t have an extra piece to send off for the cause!)  All of these are unique ways to help someone out that is working in our arena this Christmas.  If you would like more information, check out Amy’s post today.

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays without succumbing to the frenzy that it can become. I am working hard to enjoy it and not let myself get overwhelmed with it all.  My kids come home next week and for me, that is what makes the holidays. I can’t wait!!  Julia and I did some crafting the other day. We have loads of pinecones around as we live in the Sierra Foothills.  With a little white glue and a bottle of glitter we came up with these.

I haven’t accomplished a whole lot of sewing over the past few days. I am working on a small art quilt though and have been thread sketching a bit. Here is a peek. With any luck, I will post the finish just after the holidays.

photo (2)

Take care all and Happy Monday!  Linking up to Anything Goes Monday.


Custom Work

Over the summer I opened an Etsy shop. Kind of scary because it means putting yourself out there and hoping that someone likes your work enough to buy it. So far it is going well.  I have sold a number of items, certainly not enough to make any sort of living, but enough to make it rewarding. It feels good to have someone look at an item I created and purchase it. Also for some reason, I get a kick out of knowing that I am shipping something I made to someone in another part of the country. I have sent things to South Carolina, Alaska, Oregon, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia. This week I received an Etsy email from a woman telling me that an item I made was on her sister’s Christmas List. I loved that! The same item had sold the day before I received the email. Luckily I had enough fabric to duplicate it and it was simple item. It felt great to make my customer happy.

Over the past two weeks I had two requests for custom orders. I have been making cozies for Chemex coffee pots and sold a number of them as Christmas gifts through Etsy. The first custom request I got was from a woman who wanted me to make one for her using her fabric. She had a gorgeous African Ankara fabric that she thought would work. We chatted back and forth a bit and she sent me a picture of the fabric. Seemed like a good idea so we came to an agreement and she mailed the fabric to me.

It turned out so pretty. She is gifting this to her sister for the holidays. (Excuse the horribly wrinkled sheet that was used as a backdrop! I mailed off the project before looking at this picture. Ick!)


It was a great surprise to see how the green pattern matched so well where it joins with the buttons. Totally happened by chance as I didn’t think to check that when I was cutting. I was more concerned with how to fit the most of that bold blue and purple stripe in the piece. I got lucky!

20141202_2284I had these pretty a brass buttons that added nice touch. I quilted it along the white lines that delineate the pattern. Overall, a good finish. The best thing is now I have some experience with Ankara fabric and plan to buy more. Ankara fabric actually originated  with the Dutch. It was made with the intent to be sold in Indonesia but quickly gained popularity in West Africa. It is a very dramatic use of bold colors and prints and is usually made with 100% cotton fabric. The piece that I worked with washed well and was easy to sew on.

The second custom order came around as a result of a request from a woman in Pennsylvania. She wrote me and said that she liked my work but wanting to gift a Chemex cozy to her guy, she hoped for something less feminine. This forced me to take a look at the fabric choices I have been making and yep, most are rather feminine. It is interesting because when I make a new Chemex jacket to put up on Etsy, I always post it on Instagram with various hashtags. I get a pretty good response and guess what, they are predominantly male responses. But those responses haven’t led to sales on Etsy. It follows that I might be more successful in that market with some covers that are less floral! My customer specifically asked for denim, twill or flannel. This is what I came up with.

The denim is from my husband’s massive pile of old levi’s. The flannel is actually a piece leftover from pj’s that I made for my boys about ten years ago. Talk about lucky, I didn’t even have to make a run to the store!photo denim-crop

photo 4The buttons were purchased in Lancaster, PA during my amazing fabric hunt in Amish country. (That trip was a blast and you can read about it here.)

photo 2It was a win for the customer and some new perspective for me. Question of the day: If you are selling product on Etsy, do you charge extra for a custom order? In these two instances, I did not. The items were ones that I make regularly, the customer just wanted me to use a certain fabric. However, it does mean setting aside my current project and sewing something different for each of these customers. I am not sure and would love to hear what others are doing.

As an aside, I am loving the comments I have received on my post about the giveaway for Sew Mama Sew. What a sweet group of comments. Today is the last day for the giveaway so if you want to join in, check out this post.

Enjoy your weekend!  Linking to Let’s Bee Social and Crazy Mom Quilts. Find these links and more, at the top of the page under Link-Ups.  (That sounds like a commercial!)

Holiday Giveaway

I am so excited!  Today starts the Giveaway Day sponsored by Sew Mama Sew. I have followed the Sew Mama Sew website for quite a long while. Twice each year they host a blogger giveaway. This is an event where bloggers will link up with a treat to give to one lucky winner. It is a way for bloggers to meet new readers and readers to discover some fun, new blogs. There will be so many giveaways to enter this week. It is really a lot of fun to check out all of the blogs and you just might win something. Many of the people linking to this giveaway will either have a handmade item or will be giving some sort of supplies having to do with sewing – might be buttons, fabric or a pattern.

In keeping with the  spirit of the holidays and the kind, quilty bloggers, I wanted to join in and provide a treat to a lucky reader. I started this blog last summer and have been so fortunate to have met many on-line friends. It has been a great to get to know others that are involved in this quilting/crafting/sewing corner of the blogosphere. I have been inspired by the work of many and have learned much more than I had hoped.  In thanks, I put together a little basket of treats.

If this is your first time popping over to Needle and Foot, welcome! I am a stay at home mom with a love of sewing. I work on quilts, small and large, as well as sewing some garments and bags. I love sharing what I am working on and learning what others are doing. Take a minute and check out a few posts. Hopefully you will enjoy your time here.

On to the giveaway! First of all, there is a set of eleven 3″ x 30″ (approximately) strips in vibrant colors. I had purchased a grab bag of strips and this set was part of that bag. Perfect for an upcoming project when you want to brighten up a dreary winter afternoon.


I don’t know what line(s) these pieces are from as the selvedges were removed when I got these but they work together well.  POST UPDATE:  According to Barb at Mountain Quiltworks these are from Kate Spain’s line called Terrain. Thank you Barb!!


I added a few holiday prints from my stash. They are roughly fat quarter size (18″ x 22″). It might be just the thing for a last minute holiday project.


Always nice to add a bit of fabric to your stash.


I’ve added a few fun treats to the basket as well.


No, I didn’t make the ornament. 🙂 It is so cute though and would be such a simple project.


Be sure to take a look at all of the fun giveaways on the Sew Mama Sew website. Check out a few blogs and meet somebody new! All giveaways, including this one, will be open for the entire week. I will pick the winner of this basket on Saturday, December 13th. The winner will be contacted via email and also announced on a later post.

So here is the deal – to be eligible for this cute little holiday basket all you have to do is leave a comment – just three words – that tells me the following:

“Three words that come to mind first when I think of the Holidays are:”

I apologize to any international readers but my budget doesn’t allow for shipping outside the US. Thanks for playing along! I am looking forward to reading your comments. Enjoy this giveaway and so many more over at Sew Mama Sew.

Linking to Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Update:  The giveaway is now closed.  At random, my daughter chose number 48 as the winner. We are very scientific here – I told her to pick a number between 1 and 137. Congrats to Mara. I emailed you and need your address please.  Happy Holidays everyone!

When it rains, it pours!

I am sitting here in the kitchen listening to it pour rain. Living in parched California, this is really a wonderful sound. As we were enjoying the downpour my cell phone and my husband’s cell phone start beeping with one of those emergency alert sounds. Apparently it is coming down so hard that the Weather Service is posting flash flood warnings!  It’s ok, we need it so desperately.  There is actually one tiny town in Central California, called Porterville, where many of the residential wells have dried up.  Truly and completely dried up. The residents of that town are buying their water and taking sponge baths. The city officials actually brought in portable showers so the 600+ residents with dry wells could have a hot shower (the rule is to bring your own towel and soap.) Clearly it is no exaggeration that we are experiencing a drought.  The fact that my rain gauge shows 2.43 inches of rain in the last 24 hours is wonderful!

Today I gave the first Christmas gift of the season! How fun it is to gift a quilt to someone – I love the feeling of making it for someone special and knowing they are touched when they receive it. I made a 1600 quilt top (jelly roll quilt) back in October. You can read about it here. Using Moda’s “Merriment” line, it turned out to be lovely shades of deep red and pine green with lots of creamy colors thrown in for good measure. It is technically a holiday print but really it isn’t that “Christmasy” so I think it can be used throughout the winter months.

Holiday Jelly Roll Quilt November, 2014

I cut off enough of the edge of the original quilt top to be able to create a pieced border around the edges. I put a narrow strip of pine green between the main section and the border.  Using diagonal, straight line quilting made this project a breeze to quilt.

Holiday Jelly Roll QuiltThe backing is a simple creamy tone on tone fabric. It looks pretty with the red binding. (I forgot to take a picture of the backing though, oops!)

The most fun was bringing it over to its new owners, my Mom and Dad. Merry Christmas – I thought I would give it to them now since they were just decorating for the holidays. They love it and it looks great on the couch, right near their wood stove. So cozy. The picture isn’t the best, I only had my phone with me. But look how cute!

photoI have started another project that will be gifted at Christmas time. That won’t be shown here until after the holidays. Don’t want to ruin the surprise. Time to go read my book and listen to the rain. Hope all is well at your house!

Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Linky Tuesday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. Take a peek at all of these link ups to see so many amazing projects. As always the links are available at the top of my page, under Link Ups.  Also…. thanks in advance for your comments, they always make my day!



Happy Thanksgiving!

I just picked the last of my mums and have enough for the table. The flowers are now finished until the rhodies and azaleas come to life in about February. We are getting ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Today is a baking day. Thanksgiving will be up at my mom and dad’s home this year. Two of my five sisters, their kids and grandkids are coming to celebrate. I love this holiday. It is probably my favorite of all of them. It is a day to enjoy family, eat wonderful food and visit, visit, visit! What better way to enjoy a holiday! I have been assigned dessert so Julia and I are making two kinds of fudge and a Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake (a layered deal that looks amazing.) I am also bringing the Cranberry Sauce and have a recipe that I love making each year. It is very simple.  Just in case you are looking for something new to try (could be for Thanksgiving or Christmas), here is the recipe. (I have had this clipping from a Bon Appetit magazine of years ago.)

Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel

  • 1 3/4 c red Zinfandel (or any rather sweet red wine)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large strip of orange peel
  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients except cranberries in medium saucepan. Brting to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into larger saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst and sauce slightly thickens, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold. (Can be made up to 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.) This is soooo yummy plus your house smells delicious when it is cooking!


I have so much to be thankful for. All the simple things – my husband, kids and my amazing family, a home that I love in a community that I love, good health, good friends and, yes…. two sewing machines!! Not only that, I am also thankful for this quilting community that I so enjoy. 🙂 I am grateful! I hope all of you are feeling as fortunate. It feels good to remember how very much we have to be thankful for.

As far as sewing goes, this week was not entirely productive. We were gone last weekend and with the holiday, this is a short week. Also, there’s some procrasination going on here. I have not one or two, but three quilt tops that are finished and ready for quilting. I have to be in the mood for quilting – it takes a lot of focus for me. Probably because I don’t have tons of experience so it doesn’t just come automatically to me. Anyway, I haven’t been in the mood.

In the interest of avoiding all the quilting that needs to be done, I decided to make some drawstring bags to use for Christmas wrap. This will avoid some of the huge amount of paper waste that comes with Christmas morning. I can put them away and use them year on year.

I have a drawer full of Christmas fabric. All sorts and sizes of holiday scraps. I pulled out anything that was of decent size, ironed and squared them up. Sewing them into drawstring bags took no time at all. (If you haven’t made anything like this, there is a quick tutorial on Amy Smart does it again!)


Aren’t these cute? Fun to use up these scraps and a great way to put off quilting the three quilts that are staring me down.


Wishing everyone a wonderful, safe holiday.

Linking to: Sew Cute Tuesday and Let’s Bee Social. As always, links to these sites are located at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

The Hidden Cost of a Quilt Retreat

A few weeks ago I posted about a quilt retreat that I went to located an hour north of my home. Remember I was describing the story of the lynching of Josefa Segovia (aka Juanita) and how her ghost now haunts the town?  If not, you can read the post here. Well, while on breaks or taking lunch during the retreat, my friend Sophia and I would walk around the tiny town of Downieville. It consists of a few restaurants, a post office, hardware store, gift shop and a few other shops.  It is a cute little town that attracts hikers and mountain bike riders (and quilting afficionados like me and Sophia!) As we wandered about the two block radius that is “town”, I noticed a little, worn out house for sale. I looked at the price and joked with Sophia that we should buy it and come up here to hike the river and go to the quilt retreats. We laughed and that was the end of the discussion.  Or was it…..

When I got home I kept thinking of that little house.  I looked at the listing on-line and showed it to my husband. He immediately got excited about it. The house is reminiscent of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.  It just needs someone to love it!  The owner was elderly and after passing away a while back, the house has stood empty. We decided to make an offer on it and after minimal negotiations, we bought it.  Escrow should close this afternoon!!  We are soooo excited about this project.  Everything about the little house speaks to us. (Best part…. there is even a tiny room off the only bedroom that will be a sewing room where I can keep my old machine and some supplies!! Yay for weekend sewing up at the river.)

It needs to be completely renovated. However, it is so tiny with basically four rooms (the living space is just shy of 700 square feet) that it is a manageable project. It was built in the 1930’s and we plan to keep the vintage feel to the house. Here is the kitchen:

20141026_1990Isn’t that floor gorgeous?  All of the flooring in the house is hideous and will be replaced.  The colors are odd, to say the least, and really dated. The walls all have wall board and need to be updated. I like the vintage look of the cabinets and will just refinish them. Buy why is the paper towel roll on the outside of the cupboard??

20141026_1993The living room…. again, oh the flooring!!  There is dark hard wood under that ugly carpet so we will peel it up and refinish the floors. I like the little built in cabinet and book shelf but need to refinish both of them. They have about 138 layers of paint on them.

Now for the real reason we bought it.  This is basically in our back yard.  Walking about 100 feet brings us to this:

photo 1 (7)

The view upstream is wonderful.

photo 2 (9)Look at our tiny neighborhood library, which is just a few doors up from our house.

photo 3 (6)We start working on the house this week, soon as we get the keys. It will be a long project but a fun one. So….lesson learned. Quilt retreats can lead to all sorts of unexpected expenses.  Be careful when attending. On the plus side, I will have a place for Sophia and I to stay at the next retreat. So really, that is a money savings, right?

In the interest of keeping the house’s vintage feel, I have been thrifting and collecting vintage dinner ware and kitchen items. Yesterday I was out looking and while I didn’t find much for the house, look what I came home with:

photo (13)

I was so excited. Most of the pieces (with the exception of the upper left corner) are at least a fat quarter or larger. The fabrics were about 25-75 cents each. The top four on the right side are from an older Mary Engelbreit line for Moda.  Score.

Looking out the window now and leaves are blowing off the trees like crazy. It is supposed to start raining soon. It is shaping up to be a nice day.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social, and Sew Cute Tuesday. Links to these and other link ups can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.



Making it my own

This week I finished the quilt top for the Aurifil 2014 BOM. Kind of strange since this is only November and the Aurifil December block hasn’t even been released yet.  Allow me to explain…. (or as Ricky Ricardo would have said, I ‘have some splaining to do’. How about that for dating myself.)

In June I discovered the Aurifil block of the month and decided to go for it even though I was already half way through the year.  I quickly made the blocks for January through June.  I had a pile of wonderfully bright fabric by Malka Dubrawsky, “A Stitch in Color”, that I wanted to use. (I did need to supplement with a few additional fabrics.) I posted about this a while back which you can read here if you want.  With the first 6 or 7 blocks, I was really happy with the look that was coming go together. There were a few issues though.  First of all, and this may be my naivete showing through, but the blocks varied in size. Some of the original designs were sized for a 12″ block and others were designed to be 12.5″ blocks. What is that all about? I kept thinking it was my error but no, that is how the designs were. I think the blocks should all be the same, strange isn’t it? Also, as new blocks were released (in September and October) I kept looking at them and playing with the fabric, trying to figure out how to piece them. It wasn’t working well at all.  The blocks were fussy with little pieces.  This fabric is bold and high volume – big prints running throughout. It just didn’t look good.  I kept setting the project aside and working on something else.  (Like procrastinating would magically fix the problem.)  But then……

I had an epiphany!  Just because I started this project with the Aurifil blocks, I didn’t have to finish it that way.  Yikes, this was a huge revelation for me.  You wouldn’t know this, but I am a rule follower; I don’t veer off the path very often. I started the Aurifil BOM, therefore it should be finished with the Aurifil blocks, like the Aurifil police would come and confiscate my quilt.  Not so. I decided these fabrics really only look good (to me anyway, and it’s my project, right??) in a big, chunky looking block. I decided to finish the quilt with blocks of my choosing.  I’m such a rebel.

During this same time, I found out about the app called BlockFab-HD. If you are an iPad user and haven’t tried this, it is wonderful! There are most of the commonly used blocks in the library. The user can determine the size and quantity of the block and the app will tell you the size of the pieces and the  yardage. It may not be EQ7, but it’s FREE! Works for me. You can put in different colorways and can look at the blocks tiled, sashed or separated with solid blocks.  Yes, it is limited but it suits my needs for now.

FIrst I chose to make a pinwheel block.



Then I made a plus block.


Finally, I did a square in square block. (I like this one quite a bit!)


My biggest challenge in assembling the quilt top was dealing with the variance between the 12 and 12.5″ blocks. I couldn’t cut down the 12.5″ blocks or I would lose the points and ruin the block. I ended up sashing all of them with white. Sashing hides a multitude of problems and it worked for me with this project. I had to cut the sashing wider for the 12″ blocks so everything doesn’t line up perfectly. It isn’t very noticeable though. Look at the second and fourth rows – they have wider sashing between the blocks. I bordered it with the solid orange fabric to frame everything. Here is the resulting quilt top:

20141114_2052My borders are ruffling which is a pain. I will need to work on them before I quilt this. I haven’t selected a fabric for the back yet, but for the binding I plan to piece it with the leftovers. I think that will be so cute against the orange.

Lots of learning from this one, to be sure. For me though, that is what it is all about.  Learn something from each project and improve. I am so happy with the overall look of this.  It is vivid and happy as well as being wayyy outside of my usual work.

Looking forward to this weekend. My son will be home for a visit. It rained the last day or so and the air is fresh. Yay!!  Hope you all enjoy your weekend and get to enjoy some time at your machine.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Needle and Thread Thursday, Let’s Bee Social, Crazy Mom Quilts, & TGIFF. As always, links to each of these sites are listed at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Comments are always appreciated and inspiring. I will answer them all.  🙂

This and That

I live just far north enough that we get to enjoy a colorful autumn.  Right now it is spectacular.  I have lived in Pennsylvania and I know that what we enjoy here is not on par with the colors that splash the countryside this time of year in the East. However, we do have some really lovely leaves on display these days! This was taken in my neighborhood  yesterday when I was walking the dog.

photo 2 (8)Ok – moving over to the sewing room….. I was really productive this week. For starters, I had a few sales in my Etsy shop which is always exciting.  Now that fall has arrived, I have been selling the cozies that I make for Chemex coffee pots. If you aren’t familar with Chemex pots, they make the best drip coffee. However, because the pots don’t sit on a hot burner or stove, the coffee cools quickly. I have been making these insulated covers for a while now.  With this mad rush – 😉 – on Chemex cozies, I figured I had better make a few more for my shop. These came together quickly. I have been cutting them in batches when I have the time and then sewing them sort of assembly line style. I love the fabric on this one.


Here is another one. I had purchased this home dec fabric to use as a tablecloth but the piece I bought was too small so I am using it here.  Lovely!


As an aside, I was taking some packages (Etsy orders) to the post office to mail. When I was there I saw that I had estimated the shipping fairly closely for one and had overpriced one package for a couple of dollars (not quite $2.00) I sighed and was telling the postal clerk that I can’t always come close when I quote the shipping charges and I wasn’t sure if I should refund the overage. She knows me since I have been there regularly lately (benefits of small town life) and said I shouldn’t only consider the post office charge.  She asked why am I not considering the time it takes to prepare the package, go to the post office, stand in line.  “That’s the ‘handling’ part in shipping and handling.”  Honestly, I never really thought about it and was always only charging for the postage. It made me feel better. This little Etsy shop has taught me a lot in the past few months. Very nice!

My main finish for this week is my Christmas Lattice Quilt.  I finally finished quilting it and even got the binding sewn on.  Yay!!


Overall, I am pleased with this project. I quilted it by free motion quilting a little Christmas tree on each block. As always, some turned out great and others, not so much! They were just free-hand, though I did use chalk and draw two guidelines forming a basic triangle to follow. They don’t show up all that well since some of the fabrics are busy prints. I also straight-line quilted the sashing.


On the setting and corner triangles I FMQ’d snowflakes. These were really fun – again just free hand. I’m very happy with how these turned out.


The front of the quilt is pretty.  The back….. Yikes! With each project there are lessons learned, right? Let’s just say that this quilt should only be viewed from the front. I had a remnant of a red and green chevron print that I used as the backing.  The trees look absolutely awful against the chevron.  They don’t line up with the geometry of the print and the bright green thread that I (for whatever reason?!?) used in the bobbin looks, ummm…. horrid. I should have used white and maybe the trees would have been less noticeable on the back.  At any rate, by the time I saw how poorly this looked, it was too late to change.  So, when I am a world-famous quilter and all of my work hangs in a museum 200 years from now, they will look at this one and just wonder what on earth possessed me. Shudder.


I am really trying to finish all of my WIP. Much as I am dying to make a new quilt top I need to finish up what I have already started. I hate having things stacked up. Tomorrow I will make the backing for the 1600 jelly roll quilt top that I made at the beginning of October. Hope to at least start the quilting on that one over the weekend.

In closing, does anyone need a good book recommendation?  I have read a few of the best books lately.  Here you go:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  Excellent story with the best characters. Total tear jerker so have a box of tissues nearby. Basically the story is about a young woman who desperately needs work and finds a job as a companion to a very unhappy, cynical quadriplegic. There are some really funny parts as well as some very sad. No more details though as I don’t want to spoil the story.  Great book though.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is wonderful. Again, great character development. This is a story of a couple in India that marries as arranged by their families. They come to live in the US in the mid 1960’s and raise two children. The story follows their assimilation into America and that of their kids. The insights into their culture are so interesting. Loved this book –  a really, really good read.

The Birthhouse by Ami McKay is a story about midwifery during the World War I era. The details are fascinating and the story is excellent.

What have you been reading lately? I would love to hear what is good and what’s not so great. Let me know!  Have a great weekend all.  🙂

Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, & Crazy Mom Quilts. As usual, links to all of these wonderful sites are listed at the top of my page, under Link Ups.