Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Wishes

It is the Saturday before Christmas and we had one last visit to the shopping mall today. Now it is late afternoon and the wind continues to blow fiercely as it has for the last 24 hours. The fireplace is roaring, the gifts are wrapped under the tree, my husband is napping, my daughter is on her computer, and now is a quiet time to write a note of good wishes to you. I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope for all your loved ones to make it safely thru the weather created difficulties. I hope there is a large turkey and cookies a plenty on your table. Lastly I wish you one last quilt completed by the new years end.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bonding Over Quilts

Last Sunday my daughter and her husband held their annual open house. They are wonderful hosts and everyone had a great time and was reluctant to leave. One of the guests was a past coworker of my son in laws. They had been assigned to the same squadron on the west coast some 20 years ago. As most of us realize it is a small world. The coworker and family now live on the east coast about an hour away from our area. As my son in law gave them a tour of the house she noticed a quilt. She asked if my daughter had made it. My son in law replied that his wife’s mother had made it. Upon returning to the main room, our conservation became centered on quilting. She is currently making a disappearing 9 Patch and loves batiks. Who could disagree with that, not me? We had an enjoyable time bonding about quilts. I look forward to next year to hear what she has made during the time interval. I love the coincidence that leads us to fellow quilters. The quilt world gets smaller all the time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giving is better than receiving

Yesterday I had an appointment in the morning that finished early. I thought about going home and doing all the things waiting for me. Yesterday was also my quilt guild’s charity quilt day. I hadn’t attended in several months and was feeling guilty about it. So I drove over to lend a hand. I am glad I did. The saying goes that you will get more out of giving than receiving. These quilts are donated to a local hospital’s Chemo Center. So far the guild has made and delivered 138 quilts. The guild group has a goal of 150 by the year’s end. When a bundle of quilts are delivered they are spread out on a table for all the staff and patients to admire. No one can resist hoooos and awes, and touching them. We all know that quilts do more than keep you warm, they warm the soul too. The center has told us that the quilts are highly prized by those who receive them. In fact one the ladies attending yesterday’s bee commented that her mother had received a chemo quilt (from another place and time) and loved it greatly, it had given her a great deal of emotional comfort during her ordeal. The comment cemented the fact that this project was giving to us as much as we were giving to the project.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Autumn has past

October has flown by. It seems I say that every month. Every month I feel like have accomplished only half of what I intended to. October I taught a workshop, vendored at a quilt show, finished a quilt, and went to Quit Market in Houston. It sounds impressive. Yet I did not write a single blog entry. It only takes a few minutes. Actually it takes me longer than that as I really do not like writing. One event I did notice this month was the beautiful autumn we had. I love September and October, warm sunny days and cold nights gave us lots of color. I did take a picture or two of trees in their prime. I knew if I waited another day that color would be gone. A couple of days after the picture taking I left for the Quilt Market in Houston. Houston was having a cold spell. I usually take capris and tops but this I packed long pants and sweaters and I wore the sweaters every day. Super storm ‘Sandy’ was the topic of conversation, and some attendees left early in order to return home. ‘Sandy’ swept our home area more gently than most areas. When I returned however all the leaves were gone – not gone exactly – on the ground. Winter has firmly arrived; the sky is gray and cold. I have a new list to accomplish this month. We have the fireplace burning and I am writing again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sewing Room Continues

My husband made me a design wall. All these years I would lay blocks on the guest bed or on the floor. He bought foam insulation board from the home supply store. It comes in 4’ x 8’ sizes. I choose a finished size of 4’ x 5’. We cut the board to size and covered it with batting and duct-taped the overlap on the back. DH made a wood fame, like picture frame, for it. The frame made it easier to hang on the wall. If you should try this remember to hang it into the studs in the walls. The room is taking shape and feels like a true studio now. Fabric is back on the shelves and my sewing machine is plugged in and running. I wonder if my quilts will now look better because of the new look in the room.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sewing Room Reorganizing

Painting the sewing room was the first step in updating it. For many years I have had make shift selves in the closet of my sewing room. You know the left over chip board bookcase and / or the wire ‘cubbies cubes’. We decided to change that. Measurements were taken of my closet and we discussed the befits of readymade vs. custom made (D. H.) selves. On a Sunday afternoon, we drove an hour to the nearest Ikea store and bought bookcases to place inside the closet. One case is really deep- 15” and 30 ½” wide, I love it. The total width of the closet would not allow 2 of this unit. The width is enough but due to the height of the case (70”) one would not be able to put in the closet – it had to do with angles. So the answer was 1 large and 2 (10” depth) smaller cases. While the combined width is the same as 2 large cases, placing the small cases into the closet was possible. Anyway the result is wonderful. I have lots of selves. I even had room in the closet to tuck in a ‘CD’ tower to use for fat quarters. I have organized my fabrics into appropriate groups and placed them on selves. Some groups need further sorting but it’s good for now. I found fabric that I can pre-cut into squares for future quilts thus thinning the amount of fabric. More room on the selves means I can buy more fabric to replace it. What fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A New Sewing Room

In July I wrote of carpet being replaced in my house. The new carpet is wonderful, thick and luxurious. A side note to new carpet is the blemishes of the house showed up. My sewing room was still painted contractor’s beige. We have lived in the house for 13 years. Our thought was what better time to paint than now with everything out of the room. I thought a light yellow would be cheerful. Yellow is not my color but I can appreciate it. I followed all the rules of tints, shades, and pure color. Yellows with orange or green casts to them, and I made my choice carefully. Be aware that paint may change color when placed on top of other colors, even beige. Fortunately I had only painted one wall before I decided this would not do. We covered it with “Kills” and decided to change the color choice to the light blue found in many of the rooms of the house already. I am pleased with the look. I am a blue color person.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Old Friends and Stuff


We are replacing the carpet in our house, the whole house. It is well past time to make the change. Be aware that when companies say they will move the furniture, they mean they will the big stuff. You must pack up everything in the big stuff. So for a week now I have been packing china, clothing, everything.

Packing my sewing room was an over whelming task. I must admit I put it off until last.  Besides, once I pack all my sewing room I would not be able to quilt in any manner until the new carpet is laid and everything put back in its place. I can’t go that long without quilting! Think of the withdrawl I will go through.

Once I did start on the room it was like meeting old friends again. Some fabrics I see every time I open the closet where my fabric is stored.  Some fabric was shy, hidden in back corners where it migrated. Some had been grouped together for a future project and placed out of reach.  The notions drawers had treasures not seen as other items had been placed on top of them.  If it sounds as if it was not well organized, you are likely correct. The room began its life organize but with time habits changed, time got shorter between projects with little effort put forth for organizing in between.

My daughter came over one afternoon to help. She stated that I need to redecorate the room. I need a theme, new paint and cabinets. I think she is correct.  So when the carpet is laid I will go the local big box store and look at paint chips. She and I will draw out a floor plan and shop for storage units. I will pick a theme for the room and maybe I will become organized again. Don’t hold your breath.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4 of July

I am proud to be an American. Every person in the world has the right to be proud of their country. Politics is a small part of a country. They may have the natural beauty of the land or their rich heritage.  Yet many have a dream of coming to America.

I am a retired military spouse. For 23 years I picked up and moved or waited. There have been good and not so good assignments.  Germany where the East and West did not meet and my husband was always in the field. We wives took advantage of the time and traveled the countryside. Usually for the goodies we could buy.  That assignment was where my 11 year old daughter learned to cross stitch and I learned to quilt.  Some people on that assignment remained friends to this day.

Many years and several assignments later we spent 3 years in Hawaii. The second child’s paradise with 3 soccer seasons. I learned Hawaiian applique and a lot about art quilting. These lessons gave me more ‘tools’ to put into my tool bag.  I have seen many countries and had many experiences for which I am glad to have had. Each one made me appreciate what I have at home in America.

 Let’s remember on this day the work and sacrifices our fore fathers made so we could live in freedom.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Era in Communications

I just bought an IPhone. Now, I am of an age that I can remember party lines. If you picked up the phone you needed to check if someone was already talking before you could dial a number. Times have changed and it is for the better. Recently it became time for our family to update our phones.

So we went into town and shopped for the best deals. One stop was at the local Best Buy. A nice young salesperson, Betsy, helped us and we made our decision, IPhones.  Now I can check my email on the phone and a lot of other stuff too. There is a learning curve but not difficult. In fact it is somewhat easier than my previous phone.  I know I like the larger numbers, it’s a lot easier to read.

By the way, Betsy’s mom is a quilter too.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dark and Light

Last night we had a thunder and lightning storm. I had class and I left my house 10 minutes earlier than necessary so I would be in ahead of the storm and not in it. All the way down the highway I could see flashes of lightening in my mirrors.

As I parked at my student’s home the wind caught up with me. It shook the car violently. I must admit I was nervous. Once inside her home the rain and thunder began and pounded for about 45 minutes before passing on.

This morning I sit on my screened porch writing this blog. The sun is shining, there is a light breeze, and the heat temperature as dropped 20*.  The breeze shakes the tree leaves and rain water falls down. It is beautiful and inspiring and last night’s storm is a memory.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Workshop Memories

A few days ago I conducted a Jelly Roll 1600 workshop. A jelly roll 1600 is a strip quilt made from 40 strips of fabric each measuring 40” long X 2 ½” wide. Each strip sewn together into one long strip, ends are brought back together and sewn side by side increasing the width and decreasing the length.  You can to heirloom creations on ‘you tube’ for further explanations and instruction.

17 ladies arrived in time for set up and on the dot of 10 a.m. I began to speak about the process when the electricity went off and we were in the dark. We were in a lower level room.  The building manager, a fellow quilter, made some phone calls. Apparently a utility transformer was at fault and the whole area was without electricity.  We were assured that it would be fixed soon.

Some of the ladies used the apps. on their cell phones for flashlights and we took our refreshments to an upstairs room with windows. As they proceeded to get to know each other, I was fighting back panic that I would have to cancel the workshop.

The electricity came back on in 30 minutes and we were able to continue the workshop. Everyone had a terrific time and made some beautiful quilt tops. It will be a workshop they will remember for a long time.  You know when a class/workshop is a success when the students ask when the next one will be.

Friday, May 25, 2012


This morning’s agenda was to have a blog entry about my workshop a couple of days ago. But first I planned to color my hair. I do this 2/3 times a year, when I get bored looking at the gray. I have a favorite brand and color.  I went shopping a couple of weeks ago and the store was out of my brand color, oh well I did have a coupon for another brand. I choose my color and saved $2.00. I bet you can see where this is going already.

This morning I did the deed. Combed thru the wet hair and decided to let it air dry a bit and clean the kitchen or throw a load of laundry in the wash.  At noon I thought I better go in and curl my hair. I screamed when I looked in the mirror. Orange! Granted it wasn’t carrot orange but definitely orange tones. I have fair skin and yellows & oranges make me look like I have jaundice. 

I made a quick phone call to my local salon which lucky for me she had an opening in the afternoon. She did her magic and it is toned down and mellowed. It fact my husband rather likes the results.

The lesson here- if you know something works stick with it. In quilting a little yellow or arrange will show up very well. Use it sparely. Last, use a color wheel to determine what colors will complement each other and not clash.  Oh, and sometimes it pays to buy the best rather than trying to save a dollar.

No pictures for this entry.   The workshop entry will be written later this weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Life is Good!

On Tuesday a friend of mine, Renelda Peldunas Harter, and I gave quilt demonstration. We both have blocks featured in "Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 5".

We drove about 45 minutes  to Windchester, Virginia to the "Scrappy Apple" quilt shop. We each had prepared a talk about our blocks and the piecing techniques and etc. I bought my laptop computer to show color options if someone wonder how the block would look in an another color. I had print outs of placement layouts. We were ready.

I must admit I hadn't heard anything from locals  as to their attendance. I feared that no one would come. Renelda admitted her own thoughts of maybe 4 or so showing up. We arrived a few minutes early to set up a felt board and unpack our visual aids. Image our surprise that there were 6 ladies seated and waiting for us! In all we had 15 ladies attend our talk and demonstration. Questions were evidence of serious interest. The morning was very successful for ourselves, the audience and the shop. Gleefully we treated ourselves to lunch afterward. On that day, life was good!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blog Tour, Isn't This Fun

Isn’t this fun! I too enjoy visiting the other blogs. So many talent people with wonderful block designs.

My block is called Crossroads of Life. Think of the many crossroads, roadblocks and detours to take. The nice element of this block is any choice of color or placement will make a terrific quilt. My philosophy on quilt blocks is that they should be versatile. One should be able to use one pattern and make it in any themed fabric and with a twist of the block have new quilt look.
I have several images of quilt layouts for you to view. I used the same color placement in each of the images so you might see the differences better in the layout.  Do notice the pastel quilt, its the same layout as the third but the eye focus changes to the seconary design - a star.

Possible color changes might include alternating corner ends to create an interesting look where four blocks meet, almost a checker board effect.

Try setting the blocks on point. The set in sides could have a ‘snow ball’ tip to integrate with the blocks, giving it an industrial look. I think the ‘X’ is fascinating. A young man would love that ‘X’ marks the spot design.

This block will be beautiful using batiks, traditional, or depression era theme fabrics. Depth of color is the key to this quilt block.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I'm in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

I'm pleased to say that I have a block featured in the upcoming Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine.  The magazine will be released May 8.  Watch for the blog tour April 30 - May 4.  My blog will be featured on Wednesday, May 2.  Come and join me and leave a comment, one lucky ready will win a free magazine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recently my daughter asked if I had a quilted item I could
donate to my grandson’s band fundraiser. I thought I might have something in my
UFO box. Indeed I did. A small turquoise
and beige wall hanging about 30” X 30”. The top was complete and ready to sandwich,
I thought. It just needed something
special for the backing so that meant a trip to the store.
I sorted through my stencils and books for a design. I
wanted something more than ‘stitch in the ditch’ quilting. I found what I wanted and marked the
top. I basted the 3 layers together, as
there are always leftover scraps of batting around the sewing room. I thought I had the perfect color of thread,
I did but it was hand quilting thread not machine thread. So it was wait for
the next day for another trip to the store.
Now I was ready to quilt. I decided to try something different. Not
always a good idea when time and purpose is important but thought it would be
okay. If I am ‘stitching in the ditch’
quilting I use the walking foot on my sewing machine. If free motion quilting
is required I take it off the machine and put on the appropriate foot. The quilt design I chose was mostly straight
lines with some gentle curves. I thought I might try using the walking foot and
gently turn the quilt sandwich as I stitched along the lines. In a couple of
places I did have to stop and needle down the machine and pivot for a tighter
turn but it did work.
I have finished the project and taken a picture of the wall
hanging. I am pleased with the results. Tomorrow I will deliver it to the
chairperson for the fundraiser. I hope it brings a good price. Not just because
I put a lot of work into it but because I love my grandson!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Learning and Growing

A couple of days ago I attended my local quilt guild
meeting. Our program was by Shannon Shirley. It was a trunk show illustrating
her growth as a quilter over 25 years.
There were a lot of quilts!

One might think that her growth would be of perfecting her
sewing and quilting stitches , perhaps the complexity of design. It did all of that and more. She spoke of her
entry into the quilt world and how her personality affected her quilts. She is
not one to sit still! By now you are wondering what she did? She continued to
learn, not just for betterment of skills but learning new techniques.

Each time the opportunity arose to learn a new technique she
took the class. She said in learning she “would put that skill into her
toolbox.” Most of the time she would
make a small project so she would complete it and therefor have a record to
refer to. She may never use it again but she knew now how to do it. Actually
she did incorporate many into her quilts.

As it happens she has opened her mind to new to new
possibilities and created new twists on some of the techniques. She certainly
lite a fire in the minds of some of our members. The emails are appearing
quickly in response to her program. I expect that we will see some terrific
quilts in the near future by our guild members.

Shannon is currently writing a book and has two more in
line. We are looking forward to their release.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekend Activity - Creative Arts Summit

Just a quick comment. I am attending the Creative Arts Summit in the Dulles area of Virginia. I had felt I was at a crossroads in my business and was not sure how much I would get from this event. I have pages of notes and a renewal focus and energy to continue. I have met some wonderful and inspiring women. So glad I came.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm Featured in 'Quilts from 100 Blocks'

“Quilts from 100 Blocks” is a special issue released by Quiltmaker’s Magazine. Quilts featured in this issue were featured in previous volumes of the “100 Blocks” magazines.
I am pleased to say that I have a quilt featured in this special “Quilts from
100 Blocks” issue. The quilt uses my Ahoy block from Volume 1 and it turned out quite stunning. There are 18 quilts are featured and you will want to make each one. The magazine will be on the newsstands today.
Quiltmaker will be giving away 20 complimentary issues on their blog site today. Just go to and look under Recent Posts for 'Rocks the Blocks'. Good Luck.

Friday, March 2, 2012

White Glove Opportunities

A week has gone by since Mid-Atlantic Quilt show. I’m now
settling into my daily routine. But before any more time goes by let me tell
you about a memory I have from this year’s show. The Mid-Atlantic quilt show
has been an annual show for many years and I often attend and recognize faces
that I see each year. Some I may have taken a class with but most I just pass
in the aisles each year.
The quilts on display are always wonderful and this year no expectation.
I did white glove duty on Friday’s last shift of the day. I was given the
completive aisle of innovative and traditional quilts. Half way thru the shift a lady and her friend
stopped at a quilt and the friend started taking pictures of the woman. It was obvious
that she was the maker of the quilt. Upon seeing me approach she remarked that
she was indeed the maker and would not have touched the quilt otherwise.
She then started explaining the meaning and methods used to
make the quilt. The quilt is titled ‘de Los Muertos Celebration’ by Nancy
Christopherson. She was informative and interesting about her quilt. The conservation
ended and the small crowd that had gathered disbursed.
Some minutes later another woman was having her picture
taken by her quilt. The maker is from Australia that was all I heard about her.
A few minutes later another woman and a couple of friends
came to visit her quilt. I believe the title was ‘Cameron’s Dream’ but most
people were referring to it as the ‘VT’ quilt.’ VT’ is for Virginia Tech. She had used the official fabric and duplicated
the ‘VT’ logo; with permission she stressed that point. She created a lap size quilt that any
entering college student would love. After her group wandered away I checked my
watch and realized nearly an hour had passed.
White glove duty can offer interesting opportunities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mastering the Art of French Quilting...hum Cooking

My husband and I are empty nesters. It is common for us to
eat dinner on a tray in front of the television. The last two nights we watched
the movie “Julie & Julia”. Half last night and the second half tonight, the
reason for this is not important.

Watching this movie makes one hungry! So tonight I cooked fish,
not in the French way of sauté with butter but with a little bit of spray ‘Pam’.
We have to watch our cholesterol. I did however drizzle a little garlic
flavored olive oil over the top of the cooked fish. It was pretty good and made
us feel very gourmet'.

Dinner is over and the kitchen clean. He is off to the
basement to finish something. I went to my sewing room to press a few quilt
blocks I made today. I thought about the
movie and Julia Child’s passion for cooking.
Quilters are passionate too.
Quilting is our French cooking. If planned correctly, cut and sewn
accurately the quilt will be a feast for the eyes.

Bon' Appetite'

Monday, January 9, 2012

New York Christmas

I must say I am glad the holidays are. Not that I didn’t
have a good time but the quite routine of January is smoothing to my soul.

One of the highlights of the holiday season was a trip to
New York City. My daughter made arrangements for herself, my granddaughter and
myself to take a day trip to New York City. We were to ride a bus and have a
day of sightseeing, shopping and see the Radio City Rockettes Holiday
show. We boarded a bus at ‘0 dark 30’,
which is a military term of - before the sun comes up, rode 4 hours to New
York. We had 3 hours before the show to
head for our first destination – The American Girl Store.

It’s an impressive store.
3 floors of dolls and related stuff to spend your money on. I bought my younger daughter an AG doll some
20 years ago from their catalog. She
loved it lot and I enjoyed making clothes for it. A lot of clothes. The company has expanded the original 4
historical dolls to a dozen or more historical and a design your own doll with
color choices. We thought the store
was busy but an employee stated that this was moderate and busy meant you
couldn’t move. This statement made us
think of Disneyland in July.

We walked back to the Rockefeller Plaza and enjoy the store
window displays along then way. We entered the Radio City lobby and were amazed
by the giant crystal chandelier Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling.
Everyone in the lobby had their heads looking up at this amazedly beautiful
sight. To see it was breathtaking and in
addition to its beauty was the fact that it rotated! The whole theater was a look back to the
grace and décor of the 30’s. The inlayed
woodwork on the walls and inside the elevators was eye catching. And we hadn’t even seen the show yet.

The show was terrific and we were ready for 2 more hours
before the bus trip home. The Plaza was
packed with people by this time. The Plaza and the Plaza Christmas tree are so
much larger than it appears on TV.
Additional trees are set along the area and lots of lights. We even saw
one man propose to his girl at ring side of the ice rink. We returned to our bus stop, boarded and
watched the skyline disappear into the distance. The weariness of the day set in and sleep
overtook us for the next few hours. I
think we may make this an annual event.