Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gingerbread Fun

Our local library was handing out gingerbread houses to be decorated and judged.  My kids jumped right on it because there were great prizes.  I stayed out of the way (besides helping them locate additional supplies).  One of the rules was that all the pieces in the kit must be used.  This turned out to be a tricky requirement.  I was amazed at their creative ideas and how well they were able to execute them.  Delaney decided on a beach theme for her house.  She was able to transform the peppermints into coconuts and bikini tops.  I  think she did a fabulous job.
Sydney waivered on what she wanted to do, but then settled on a train theme.  She was going more toward Polar Express.  She put a lot of time into making the train cars and the tracks.  She had to cut out all the little dots and squares the covered the cars.  I thought it was a great idea to use the peppermints at wheels.

And the snow became the smokestack.

Gavin went to town decorating his house, and he settled on a sweet theme.  I just love how the ice cream cone turned out.  At the last minute he came up with the idea of putting the gingerbread man in the cocoa pond.  I was really impressed by this idea. 
After the kids were all putting so much time and effort into their houses, I decided I better do one.  I spent the first the first week debating on how I wanted to decorate mine.  Anyone that knows me knows that I do better with a deadline.  The first idea I came up with was straws for the roof.  After that, the creativity started flowing.  Long ago quilt group did a swap with 1000 pyramids.  I did all the cutting with my Accucut.  In the center of the die was this beautiful little hexagon that was essentially a little piece of everyone in my quilt group.  How could I throw away these beauties?  What on Earth would I ever do with 10,000 or so of these?  They have been aging in a container in my sewing room for over a year.  I devised a plan!  I was going to have a house with a cobblestone path.  The next thought was to have one side of the house be stone.  My girls quickly squashed this idea and said the whole house needed to be covered.  The fabric for the base was a piece of leftover backing.  The tree is made from a scrap of fabric gifted to me and I added light brite pegs for lights.  It was a very fun project but I spent way too much time on it when I should have been doing other things.  It was quite time consuming to line up all the little hexagons perfectly.  I learned a few things about myself along the way. 

I had lots of pieces that I had to use. I didn't want windows in my house, so I used these pieces as the gate. I didn't want to pay the price for modge podge, so I used equal parts of Elmer's glue and water. I applied with a brush and put several coats over the fabrics. I selected several selvages from my basket and cut just the dot portions. I sewed them together to make the garland. The gingerbread man was cut with my Sizzix, but the rest of the foam pieces came in my kit.

 Eleanor do you see anything special about this window??  There is that dreaded piece of fabric that started your title as cheetah girl!!!  It just fell out of the container and asked to be put on the house.  I picked a special spot under the window.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Oldie

Many years ago when my group was making charity quilts, a challenge was issued to make a second quilt from the scraps of the first quilt.  I did start it, but the flame burned out.  I am in the mood to finish it up, but I need your help.  This quilt is U-G-LY.  It needs a lot of help.  It is those big squares in the middle.  Obviously I didn't quite have the log cabin concept at the time.  Please help me find a way to salvage these 12 blocks before I decide to trash them.  These are some of the ideas I came up with.

  • Slash the blocks into 4 equal pieces vertically and horizontally; rotate 2 of the blocks 90 degrees and sew them back together
  • cut them into wonky 4 patches and add a narrow black sash (perhaps 9 patches or just vertically?)
  • cut them on the diagonals and sew them back together so the stripe forms a square (problem with this one is that not all the stripes are going the same direction).
Thanks for stopping by.  I can't wait to hear all your suggestions.  Please check out Patchwork Times for more inspiration on design wall Monday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bright Scraps

I wanted to post a picture of the other charity quilt that I completed.  These are the lonely 9 patches that lived on my design wall for many years.  They were there so long, they were invisible to me-just part of the wall.  I ran out of black scraps so I couldn't put the sashing on all 4 sides.  If anyone asks, it was part of the design.  My DH picked the binding fabric.  It will move on to Eleanor this afternoon for handstitching and a label.  I used flannel leftovers for both backings to make them nice and soft.  After backing 2 quilts, I still can't get the drawer shut.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby Quilt

My friend Eleanor (and resident binder) asked if our little group of quilters would be interested in making small baby quilts to help out a charity that she donates to.  How could I turn her down?  She happened to hit me at a great time.  I was in the process of clearing off a table a scraps.  I had a pile of white fabric with bright dots (no surprise there since I am know to have a dot fetish).  It turned out to be just enough.  I have one 10" strip left.  I based my design on the strip o'hoy pattern from G.E. Designs.  The white was left over from a string quilt and the pieces were already 2" wide and assorted lengths.  I pulled out my graph paper and calculated the measurements.  This little quilt used one hundred four 2" squares, but that didn't put much in my container.  I should have made it a little larger, but I didn't have enough white.  It finishes at 29" square.

Have you ever had something hanging on your design wall that just sort of become part of the wall?  You know, the type of thing you pin over to the side out of the way, and before long you don't even notice it's there.   Well the 9 patches in this next charity quilt were probably hanging there for 5 years.  I just happened to see them out of the corner of my eye and decided they needed to find a new home.  I am sure when I made them I had a vision, but that is long gone, and the blocks will be shortly too.  Come back tomorrow to see another finish.

Another Finish

It was really a push to get this one done, but I had a deadline.  I didn't have time to take pictures before I gave it away, but I did manage to get the label on it.  I love how it turned out.  I made up the pattern after seeing off track on the Cluck Cluck Sew header.  I don't know what the sizes of her strips are, but I used 2 1/2"  I love how the little bit of black and white jazzes it up.  I decided on scrappy binding.  I tried a black and white, but it was too much.

This quilt was made for a girl that my daughter clogs with.  Her family moved and she will no longer be clogging with us.  It was a very emotional for all the girls.  They have been together for a lot of years.  All the girls signed blocks and I put those on the back. 

When we gave her the quilt, it initiated a group hug.  At first I wasn't sure if she like it, but then I realized she was trying not to cry.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I missed a sewing weekend in Shipshe, but I had a great time trick-or-treating with the family.  It was worth it!  On the way home from exercise on Saturday I saw the sign- Rummage Sale.  I found the perfect shorts for her costume.  You know I am the queen of last minute.  I couldn't believe that they had 2 boxes of belts and no suspenders.  Being inventive, I took my roll of elastic and sewed in into the shorts for suspenders.
Delaney wanted to be a nerd, and I think her costume turned out well.

Mason wanted to be a Popeye, but he settled for a clown at the last minute

Gavin just got dressed up for fun

Sydney had her face painted at the library.  They did an amazing job!

Here's the three youngest together and looking happy about it!  What a fun evening together as a family.  Sydney didn't join us because she had other plans.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A first for me

This is a customer quilt.  She wanted 60 degree diamonds in the border.  I am sure there must have been an easier way to accomplish this, but I wasn't able to figure it out.  It was difficult to make it work out when I went around the corners.  I struggle with marking light fabrics.  I have heard horror stories about marking pencils, so I only use school chalk.  I did freehand leafy design in the middle and did SID on the skinny border.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where I've been

I have to apologize for my sparatic blogging.  I have been a lot busy with the new crew.  This is all of the day time crew.  I have one little one that I put on the bus, but she isn't here very long.  These little ones keep me hopping!  Every day is an adventure.  They all look so innocent in the picture.  Can you tell which one give me the most problems?  The 2 little ones on the floor are just two months apart.
This little guy is just 3 months old.  I was afraid what would happen if I put him in the picture with the other kids.  They all love him just a little too much!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Quilt Shop Rant

I am currently smitten with several lines from French General.  I really wanted some, so I went online at and did a search for fat eighth bundles.  I have NEVER had any problems with any fabric purchases online.  I promptly ordered on September 30th, and waited an waited for it to come.  I of course ordered several other things as well.  When it didn't come after almost 2 weeks, I sent them an email to the address on their website.  Still I waited and waited and no communication.  I received my order a little over 2 weeks after it was placed.  Hurray!  The fabric was beautiful.  I purchased 5 yards of one piece of fabric for backing.  When I measured it to piece the backing....4 yards and 17".  UGH!!  Ok, it was on sale so couldn't complain too much.  1/2 yard shortage was only $2.50.  I don't even know what possessed me to measure it.  I have never once measured an online purchase for accuracy.

I decided I would email them (once again to the address on the website).  I waited 2 days and heard nothing.  On the 3rd day, I decided I would call them and let them know that the email address on the website didn't work correctly.  This is where it starts to go South!

When the store clerk answered the phone, instead of talking to me, she was talking to a customer at the shop.  She asked to put me on hold.  My patience is still doing well, but it is declining.  When she comes back on, I explained the sistuation.  She is still only half listening to me and is still talking to another customer.  Good Grief!  She rudely says, "so you want a credit".  I explain that it isn't really worth processing for $2.50, but I wanted to let them know that their email wasn't working correctly.  She blurts out (no other way of putting this), that I am probably in her spam folder. What??  Why would you put customers in the spam folder, and wouldn't you check that daily? (just makes good business sense to me).  She once again asked my name, and told me she would check on this.  Her words were- "I'm really busy, we are shorted staffed today can I check on this.  Would you like me to call you back?" Umm- I'm really busy too!  Currently I have 6 childen under 3 running around my house.  I politely said sure (Even though I was done with this shop), and gave the clerk my number.  That was on Wednesday- Never did hear a peep and that was 3 days ago.

That $2.50 that I was short wasn't as important as the fact that I didn't have enough fabric for the project at hand.  Is is so hard to say SORRY?  I completely understand how this could happen, but at no point in the conversation did she tell me sorry for the mixup.  The total on my order was over a hundred dollars, and it was obvious that they do not want or need (because they are so busy and under staffed) any future business.  So, Bits 'n Pieces Quilt and Fabric Shoppe in Pelham, NH (, I am sorry you don't love me!  You can rest assured that there are a lot of other online fabric shops out there that love me,  and they love the way I continue to build my resource center.

If you made it to the end of this lengthy post, thanks for letting me vent.  I feel much better now that I have voiced my opinion. 

Cold and Rainy

What to do when it is cold and raining?

Raspberry chocolate chip and pumpkin snickerdoodle.  Yum!  Now to find a good hiding spot from my children.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Something New

During my sewing weekend with my friend Tina was able to clear off a few things from the design wall. I have felt a little overwhelmed by scraps the past few weeks, so I began cutting. I have wanted to make a log cabin quilt for a least 10 years. I find it to be the perfect quilt pattern for scraps. I like to cut all my logs to length before I begin. These logs are 2" in width. I have another log cabin cut out from the scraps that don't qualify as brights. Almost all these fabrics were gifted to me from my non-scrap loving quilting buddies. I think I added about 1/2 yard of various blacks from my stash. Sue, Char, and Nancy, if you're reading this post, I am sure you will see a lot of your leftovers in there. Both my girls love this quilt (which is unbelievable in itself).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Waiting Impatiently

I have been needing, wanting, obsessing for the Ruby fabric line for such a long time.  I think I entered every giveaway that I could find!  I didn't win, so I did the next best thing - I bought it for myself.  I am busy fondling my new fabric today.  Look what arrived just for me.  It is going to be used in some of my blocks for my Farmer's Wife quilt.  I have about 15 blocks completed.  This is a totally new color family for me, so I am enjoying the adventure.  There are some great small scale prints in this bundle that are going to be just perfect.  The bundle is from this website Green Fairy Quilts, and the solids are from Thousands of Bolts.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The kids did well

I managed to get this quilt put together this week. The kids in my son's 5th grade class made the blocks with the help of a couple of quilters. I cut out all the blocks and each student pieced one block. I made sure none of the blocks had pieces smaller than 2" finished. It was used in conjunction with a Lewis & Clark lesson. I picked a block from each state that Lewis & Clark went to on their journey. Because there were 20 students, I had to add some additional blocks to represent other things that I thought were appropriate. I hope to have it quilted so it can be entered into the fair this fall. I think the kids will really enjoy seeing their work displayed at the fair. I was pleasantly surprised how straight the sewing was. The students have more difficulties with the pressing than the sewing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Can't do just One

Why is it when I do most patterns, I make multiple quilts of the same pattern? I think it is because I like the finished project so much. I really liked the baby quilt that looked like a present and how it turned out, so my wheels immediately starting thinking about the possibilities of color options for it.

When one of my good friends had a baby boy (after 2 girls), none of the boy quilts seemed to fit the family. They are complete sports nuts- especially football. When I was digging into my scrap bin, I came across this lonely fabric scrap. Just 3 strips 3 1/2" wide. Immediately the wheels staring turning and the fabric started flying.

Since my scraps were only 3 1/2" wide, I had to recalculate my measurements, and away I went. I am so pleased with how the quilt turned out for baby Tate. Now lets see if I can actually get it quilted before my kids go back to school.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Study of Pink and Black

Nothing can refresh me like a new project. I was inspired by a quilt at
I just happened to have loads of black and white prints that I have been trying to use up. What a great combination- quick, easy, fun. Who wants to spend loads of time on a baby quilt that it going to be abused. I am surrounded by a baby boom, so I need to have quilts on hand. Char shared her black and white scraps with me that she no longer wanted. I love how my version turned out.

I have had 6 flannel b&w stripe fat quarters for years. They never seem to work for what I want to do, so I was determined to make them work on the back of this quilt. I drew up a plan and went to work. The black was flannel I had on hand as well as the pink. I used every last inch of this pink fabric on the back.

I just love how the pink plays with the business of the black and white prints. Shortly after I quilted this one I checked out McCall's Fast Favorites from the library ( When I saw this quilt (
, I knew it would work for yet another pink quilt (since I haven't even made a dent in my Black and whites yet).
I set to work on my kitchen counter piecing the quilt while standing in the kitchen. Let's just say this won't be the most straight quilt I have ever made. I have all the blocks made for the second baby quilt.

After 2 baby quilts, I still haven't made a dent in my black and white stash. Stay tuned for quilt number 3 with yellow as the accent this time. It is a quilt from McCall's Quick Quilts March 2010

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Bag

It's hard to believe that I am ahead of the game. That doesn't happen very often in my world! This my the ISE quilt group will be finishing up the laptop bag that was presented in Quilter's World October 2010 issue. I finished mine the size presented, and my husband's laptop won't fit. I think he is rather thankful for this, as I made it pink and red as a bit of a joke. I wanted to see if he would actally carry it. He's off the hook for now. I guess I would be pushing my luck. He does carry the fabric shopping bags that I made and they are flowery. Since he has taken over the grocery shopping duty, I should probably make him some masculine ones.

This is the bag the group picked for the next quarter. I can hardly believe that I have it done and I have another month! This is a very simple bag, so we may have to do more than one for the second quarter. It is very large, and my daughter has already claimed it for her overnight bag. Notice I found an adorable model who was delighted to model my bag. My friend Sue gifted me the lining fabric. I think it is just perfect.

If you are interested in the pattern, it is in the McCall's Quilting April 2009. The pattern is by Penny Sturges and it is called The Big Bag Theory. I modified the inside to add more pockets, and I did my handles differently.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Off the frame

This one belongs to my sister Mary. It is from Thimbleberries club several years ago. I am sure she will be happy to have it completed. I used Bamboo batting from Quilter's Dream. I used Signature thread (Wheat) in the top and bobbin. This is a new panto that I purchased because of this blog She used it often and it always adds nice texture.

These pictures aren't great, but I don't have anyplace to hang a quilt that big, but it won't quit snowing. Hopefully I can take some better pictures of the quilt tomorrow.

On a side note, the best way to capture your quilting in a photo is to have the quilt side lit. This quilt is laying on my bed, and the sun is shining through the window accents the quilting design.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Christmas Party entertainment

I know, tomorrow is Valentines day not Christmas. I can't seem to get as much done as I think I can. Several people from my small quilt group have asked about the pictures from the Christmas party. At the Christmas party we had a little "roast" for the naive and reserved quilter E. Now E is a very reserved kind of person who happened to have a piece of leopard skin fabric in her stash long ago. Well we (especially me) were quite shocked by this. The group decided that we needed to shower her with some lovely leopardy items to go with her "stash" This became a 6 month hunt for the perfect gifts. The first item E opened was a lovely cape (which she chose to wear around all night)with her initial appliqued on the back. I think it was a nice touch.

She was quite surprised with the first gift and wondered why someone would bring her a special gift. After several more gifts, she began to see a theme.

A leopard mug, a thread catcher, a tote bag, a snuggy, ironing board, a new bra. She never did tell if she modeled these for her husband.

Barb had to hunt for the perfect bra to make for E. I think she was successful. Diane made a special garter for E. She said it was perhaps the sexiest one she ever made. I don't know if E is excited to try it on.

I think this gift was perhaps her favorite gift. Thank goodness her sister was sitting next to her and could explain what it was and how it was to be worn. It was a special bikini made by Joann. Those are the bottoms that she is holding up.

I think all the excitement wore E out. She is looking kind of tired in this picture playing bingo, and there was a report that her belly hurt so much from laughing. E I'm glad you took this so well, and I am glad that you felt the love that went into the roasting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This one was supposed to be done for Christmas, but when my deadline moved, I put it off to work on my own stuff. Most of the fabrics were dyed by my customer. I love how it turned out. This is the first quilt I have successfully attached the binding in the longarm frame. I tried it once with one of my own quilts, but I did it a different way and it didn't turn out so well. I was pleased with this one. I was saying my prayers as I turned the last corner. Ellen only left me with 3" extra of binding.