Monday, October 13, 2008

Blissfest Nielson Auction

If you are a wife, or a mom, or a sister, or a daughter....I encourage you to go over to this site, Blissfest Nielson Auction and watch the video and/or read about Stephanie and Christian Nielson. Stephanie has been a popular blogger for a long time at the NieNieDialogues. She and her husband Christian are parents to four small children. In August, Stephanie and Christian were in an airplane crash, which has left them both severely burned. Stephanie is still in a medically induced coma as the doctors continue to treat her wounds. Please go read about them, look at all the goodies being offered for auction to benefit their family...and especially look at the "Leaf Sampler Quilt" that I donated....and BID on it!!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Star BOTM, Block 5

 Another pretty block!  If you aren't following along with Judy Laquidara's Star BOTM quilt, it's not too late to jump in and catch up.  She gives really good directions and diagrams.  She posts directions for a new block every two weeks.  It's fun to see all the different color choices made by the various quilters who are participating.  Fun stuff - really!!!  This is Block 5, and also a picture of the first 5 blocks together.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I wonder what it is about scrap quilts that speak to me so strongly?  Maybe it's the old-fashioned idea of using the fabric on hand, maybe it's the way all those random fabrics blend together beautifully, maybe it's just that it appeals to my thrifty side...I'm not sure of the reason, but I definitely would rather make a scrappy quilt than any other kind!  I have been working on  this quilt for about two weeks now.  It is part of the Stash Pot Pie Series, and it's called Tennessee Waltz.  The directions called for slightly smaller blocks (2" pieces for the 4 patch blocks); I used 2 1/2 inch pieces for my 4 patch blocks...mainly because I already had a bunch of them made!  This quilt is really big (85" x 109") so I won't be putting any additional borders on it.  I love the way that every seam in this quilt is straight, but it gives the optical illusion of curves...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pumpkin Love

Ever since I was a little girl - I have loved pumpkins! I love anything pumpkin flavored (although pumpkin pie absolutely rules), I love the color of pumpkins, I love the smell of pumpkins, I even love the feel of a pumpkin, smooth and cool to the touch. Driving home from work this week, I see the first of the "Pumpkin Patches" along the side of the road, ready for the kids to come and pick the perfect pumpkin for carving. With both my kids grown, I really do miss pumpkin carving! Maybe I will just have to carve my own pumpkin this year...

So, in honor of Pumpkin Season, I thought I'd post pictures of my pumpkin quilts!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Star BOTM, Block 4

Judy L. from Patchwork Times has posted the 4th block in her Block of the Month series. All the star blocks in this series (so far) have very interesting centers. I'm enjoying this series, and each Star block has gone together perfectly. Judy's directions and measurements are spot on, and easy to follow. Head on over to her site and jump's not too late to start!

Marathon of Sewing

Let me just say that this quilt "Old Waterloo Road" may just be one of the more difficult quilts I have ever put together, in terms of sheer endurance needed!
This whole quilt went together on point, in rows that are 3 1/2" wide....I felt like I was sewing, and sewing, and sewing, to see that I only had a small corner of the quilt put together. However, like the litle engine that could, I kept going - and I'm so glad I did! I have made alot of scrap quilts in the past, this one has just moved to the top of my list of favorites. I still have one more fabric border (just fabric, no piecing) to put on, and then it is finished. Now I'm picturing all the beautiful, swirly, curly all-over pantographs that I will audition for quilting this one.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Quiltville Mystery, Old Tobacco Road

I have been working on this mystery since Labor Day weekend. If you have never followed one of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts, they are alot of fun...especially if you like scrappy quilts and just want to use up all those random leftovers. I have to tell you, this one was very challenging to lay out on my design "floor" (yes, I crawl around in the floor). Not only that, but I have two cats, so after I got this bad boy on the floor, I did not want to pick it up and lay it out again before I start sewing the rows together. visitors are allowed in my sewing room right now as there are all kinds of flat items laid on top of this quilt layout to keep the cats from attacking it while I sleep tonight!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Star BOTM, Block 3

This has been such a busy week - there are not enough hours in the day!!! I did manage to steal about an hour last night after I got home from work, so I tackled block 3 in the Star BOTM from Judy L's website. If you are looking for a fun internet project to follow along on, it's not too late to start! Judy gives great directions and illustrations, and it's really fun to see how everyone else's blocks are turning out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Summer Guild Challenge Quilt

My local guild is participating in a challenge over the summer. The challenge is to make a quilt using only half square triangles. You take four hst's, and put them together into a block, in any arrangement of your choice. Then you put these together with an alternating block that is the same block but turned a different direction, OR you can make an alternating block that is a different configuration of 4 hst's, but the same colors. Clear as mud, right? It sort of made my head spin just thinking of the different combinations you could do...the other part of the challenge is that each participant pulled an envelope that contained a paint chip, and that paint chip would be the main color of your quilt. Lucky for me, I pulled a paint chip that I was a lovely teal called "seaside cottage". So it seemed perfectly logical to me that this quilt should be pieced while I was on my summer vacation in Kitty Hawk, NC. I wanted to make something very "beachy" and "summery", and I think I did. I have purchased some seashell fabric to use for a backing...I was looking for a simple project to do on vacation, and made this quilt entirely with "thangles". I can't wait for our first guild meeting and to see the other challenge quilts....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Star BOTM, Block 2

I was on vacation this past week....a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing week in Kitty Hawk, of my favorite places in the world! I actually brought my sewing machine with me, which is something I've never done before on a vacation. I found that since I get up earlier than everybody else in the house, I could spend a nice hour or so in the morning sewing. I worked on a Summer challenge quilt that my guild is doing, and I also made Block 2 of Judy's Star BOTM. Here it is!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Feather Meandering

My friend Karen (check out her new blog here) is an absolutely fantastic longarm quilter. As if that's not special enough, she's also incredibly generous in sharing her time and her knowledge. While I have an older model shortarm setup at home (Design a Quilt), Karen has a beautiful Gammill at her house. Not only does she let me touch it...she actually has let me quilt on it! This past Friday I had a day off from work and was invited to have a "sew day" with Karen. While I am a champion at the all-over puzzle type meander on my own machine...I have been yearning to learn a fancier all-over feather meander on the Gammill. Karen is always so encouraging when I am critical of my own efforts. Anyway...this is what I did on her Gammill last Friday. I can't wait to practice at this a few more times; I think it turned out pretty okay for a beginner!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Judy Laquidara's Star BOM, Block 1

This evening after work I had a chance to sit down and sew Block Number 1 from Judy L's BOM. It went together very smoothly, and I'm happy with my color choices. And as always, I'm grateful that Judy is providing us with this lovely on-going project! Here is my block:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Need blogging assistance

If someone stops by who is an experienced blogger, can you please tell me how to reply to a comment??? I'm really stumped!

Goodbye to My Sweet April

Feeling really raw and sad today...Yesterday I had to make the decision that every pet lover fears and dreads. My cat April, almost 19 years old, was diagnosed last Thursday with kidney failure, and due to a bad heart and the numbers from her bloodwork, she was classifed as untreatable. She was the most wonderful and loving of cats, and my ever faithful sewing companion. I am going to miss her for a very very long time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Are you a treasure hunter?

Do I have some fellow treasure hunters out there? I simply CANNOT resist stopping at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. I know, alot of people would never want anybody elses "junk", but there are some real treasures out there mixed in with the junk! My mom, who is 79 years old, is the Queen of the yard sale. I believe that there may be some gene that I have inherited from her that compels me to look for treasure amongst everyone else's castoffs. Now, take a look at this footstool...I can't claim to be the one who found it, but my mom found it at a yard sale for $30. She didn't need it, but knew it was too good to pass up, and that I happen to love, love, love unusual old oak pieces. I should have taken a "before" picture of was very black looking with old varnish, and the fabric on it was worn, faded and very stained. Just a few hours of stripping, sanding, staining and recovering, and I am now the happy owner of this little oak footstool. Isn't this absolutely the ultimate in oak cuteness?

An added bonus to this little footstool, is that the top cushion is actually a hinged lid which swings open, and I can use it to hide all my hand-quilting and applique supplies that I like to use while watching t.v.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Shabby Stars Update

Here is my progress to date on the Shabby Stars project that is posted here.   I am 3 blocks behind on this project, but I did that intentionally because I enjoy making several of the blocks in one sitting.  That way I can drag all my fabrics out of my project box, and really spread out and look at the colors I'm using and make each block really scrappy and different.  Here is a photo of the setting blocks, I have those all made.  This quilt is going to go on the bed in my spare bedroom, which is yellow.  I have never worked with pastel colors like this before, and I'm really happy with the way it looks. I can't wait to start putting this quilt together!

Patchwork Times Star BOTM

Here are the fabrics that I have selected for the Star BOTM that is starting at Patchwork Times. The only fabric missing from the photo is my main background fabric, which is a beige color; hopefully it will arrive in my mailbox tomorrow!

I am anxious to get started on this project. I really love the fabrics that I have chosen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

6 Years Isn't Really That Long, Is It?

My family comes from the south - Tennessee to be exact. Although I was born and raised here in lovely mom, dad, and all of their immediate family are from Tennessee. When I visit these relatives in the south, instead of being "Martha", I become one of those southern girls with two first names...."Martha Faye". (When I was little, one of my cousins pronounced it "Wash your face".) Okay, that was kind of a long way of getting around to telling you about my Aunt Faye. I have always loved and admired her, and wanted to be just like her when I was a little girl. There is a family story that I learned to knit at about 6 years old, lying flat on my back in bed next to my Aunt Faye who had just had back surgery....I think that my Aunt Faye is also behind my love of making things, and even more important, my love of quilting! About 10 years ago when my Granny Kate's health was failing, Aunt Faye was her full time care-giver; she spent many hours bedside of my Granny Kate, and spent her time cross-stitching 16" quilt blocks. About 6 years ago, she passed the blocks to me and asked that I set them in "some kind of quilt" for her. So I procrastinated just a little bit. But this past 4th of July weekend I made up my mind to just do it. Here is the result....I still need to add some borders to the outside, but all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. I can't wait to see if Aunt Faye likes it! (By the way, if anyone has any of this older Thimbleberries fabric from the Sugarhouse line that is used in these setting blocks - I'm desperately looking for some more for the borders of this quilt!)

Quilt for a Cause

Wow - I took a bit longer of a blog break than I intended. (I actually did not intend to take a break at all, but got really busy with life stuff, ya know?) I also have had some nice sewing time over the past couple of weeks, so will show some photos of what I've been doing....I have been working on a quilt which I call the "Breast Cancer Quilt" that I'm donating to a local golf tournament here in VA for a silent auction. This is a queen sized quilt, and I just finished machine quilting it yesterday. This quilt is actually made and donated in memory of my friend Dale McGee Fry, who lost her battle with cancer in December 2006. I think of her often, and I hope that this quilt brings in lots of money for the cause, and that whoever ends up with it uses it and loves it alot!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mom Stuff

I have to admit, I really am not all that thrilled with the empty nest I have most of the year. My daughter, age 23, lives a little more than an hour away, where she is simultaneously attending school for her Master's Degree while working for Target (not the store) as a "Community Living Manager" in a group home where she is the full-time caregiver for 3 mentally retarded adult women. We talk daily, several times a day. She comes home to hang out and spend the weekend when her schedule allows. I miss her alot, but I've adjusted to her living "on her own".

My son, age 21, is a junior at George Mason University where he is an Art major. He has been living on campus during the past two school years. He is also on staff at Reston Bible Church where he is the "Music and Arts Assistant" and also the electric guitar player for their worship band. I have to admit, I have been eagerly looking forward to having him home for the summer....and as it turns out, he's not exactly going to be home. He has an opportunity to move into a house with 3 musician buddies, all of whom are recent college graduates, right in Reston. This puts him incredibly close to his job, very close to his college (and he's taking two classes over the summer which would have involved commuting 4 days a week from ALOT further if he were at home); AND the rent for a year is less than the cost of 9 months of campus living. It's a great opportunity, a smart move considering the cost of gas, and I'm still a little disappointed and just a bit sad that he won't be home for the summer.

Shabby Stars

This week I jumped in and started following the Star Sew Along that Crazy Mom Quilts is hosting on her blog. Since I am playing "catch up" on this one, I have just been making the blocks in no particular order. I have one left to do, I believe it's number 5. I love, love, love the subdued colors that Crazy Mom Quilts used in some of her sample blocks, so decided to make my stars in what I'm calling "shabby chic" florals....very different from my normal Civil War /Thimbleberries/Kansas Troubles prints. I have a pale yellow spare bedroom that I would like to put this quilt in. I have made alot of bed quilts, but none of the colors that I typically work with look good in this pale yellow room. I'm finding that I'm more and more willing to step out of my comfort zone and start working with different colors and's kind of refreshing. I have been cruising all the internet quilt shops this week looking for these shabby chic florals, which I have never even glanced at in the past. I'm trying to find the "perfect" floral fabric, with a nice mix of pink andyellow, for the setting blocks. Here are my stars so far:

Monday, June 9, 2008

What's Next?

Like most quilters, I usually have several projects going at the same time, and I am always dreaming about that next project I want to that I have finished my Orange Crush mystery quilt I find myself kind of floundering around trying to decide what to work on next. I could work on this....because I only have two blocks left to applique. But that's a hand sewing project and won't satisfy my need to sit at the sewing machine; and if I finish these two blocks I will have to decide on a setting for them and I just don't know what I want to do with them yet.

OR...I have been looking at this project for a week or so, because I do love to follow along on internet projects. I think these blocks are really gorgeous. Making these blocks in a pastel color scheme really appeals to me... my quilts typically tend to have very definite light and dark color schemes.  Is anybody else working on the Star "quilt along" by Crazy Mom Quilts?

Or, I recently purchased the pattern and fabrics to make this wallhanging; I have never worked with Oriental fabrics so this could be fun and challenging...

Decisions, decisions....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Update

On Friday I attended the local QU quilt show with my 23 yo DD, and she was sweet enough to take some pictures of me with my quilts that were hanging in the show.  This is my friend Karen, with one of her quilts.  Isn't it fantastic?  All the little points on those feathered stars are actually 3-dimensional prairie points!
 Her style is so different from mine; I love the scrappy, old-fashioned, civil war type prints, and Karen is all florals.  Here is a picture of the quilt that she designed, and that I pieced.  It is called "Star Flower".  It is very, very different from my usual colors, but I had a blast working on something so different from my "norm". 

It was so hot outside this weekend, that other than a few yard sales on Saturday morning and some weeding after that, I stayed indoors!  I was lucky enough to have lots of quality sewing time this weekend, and I have finished my Orange Crush Mystery Quilt, and it is huge!  I popped it onto my queen size bed to see how it fit, and I have fallen in love with this quilt in our bedroom...what do you think? The colors in my quilt are very muted, and as I was making it I didn't realize that it would be such a good match for my bedroom.  So....I believe this one will be a "keeper"! 

Friday, June 6, 2008

Orange Crush: Mystery Solved!

I had a day off from work today to go to my local Quilters Unlimited Quilt Show.  Don't you love the way a quilt show can motivate you to just come home and SEW?????  Lucky for me, I had a project ready and waiting to be put together....the last step of the Quiltville "Orange Crush" Mystery....and here it is!  (Minus the out pieced borders, which I hope to get done tomorrow!)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Quilters Unlimited Quilt Show This Weekend

This weekend (Fri., Sat., and Sun.) is the 35th Annual Quilters Unlimited (QU) Quilt Show in Northern Virginia.  This will officially be my first time ever having quilts in a show!  This is a non-juried show, but will have a record setting 600 quilts on display.  I am excited to be participating!  I will have three quilts showing.  The first is a queen size quilt called "Starflower" which was designed by my friend Karen Sievert, pieced by me, and machine quilted by Karen.

The second quilt that is going to be in the show is a design by Pat Sloan, called "Katie's Tulips".  This wall hanging is the result of a Pat Sloan workshop that I attended in the fall.   This quilt was machine quilted by me on Karen Sieverts gammill and is my first attempt ever at echo-quilting.

The  third quilt that I am showing is a design by Sherri Hisey from Border Creek Station Pattern Company, called "The Road to a Friend's House is Never Far".  This particular quilt is not yet one of her published patterns, but I'm sure it will be eventually.  It was originally published as a mystery, and my version of the quilt was made in my role as "pattern tester".  This one is machine quilted by me on my D-A-Q shortarm machine.

I am wondering if it will feel strange to go to a quilt show and actually see something of my own hanging...and is it acceptable to sneak and eavesdrop just a teeny bit if there are other quilters looking at them when I am in the area????

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weekend Update

My Quilt for an Hour quilt top is complete.  This was such a fun project, and I am really grateful that Judy Laquidara shared it with us all.  I really liked the way that the sashing was added, it is a unique setting.  I am looking forward to her next Quilt for an Hour project!  

I am sorry to see the weekend end, as it is back to work tomorrow...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Introducing Border Creek Station Pattern Co. and my best friend, Sherri

Let's see if I can make a long story short....about 12 years ago I went to my first chat room on the internet. It was called "Fabric Stash" and had quite a following of quilters. These quilters formed an internet quilting guild called "Royal Purple Ladies of the Night" aka "RPLotN". Does anybody out there remember???? Anyway, through this chat room and online guild, I made a wonderful e-mail friend, Sherri.

Now, Sherri hails from Ontario, Canada...and I am a life-long native what were the chances that we would ever encounter each other in "real" life? Enter 2003. Sherri and I had been daily email pals now for YEARS, we exchanged Xmas and birthday gifts, we shared stories and woes of our children and families....we laughed about living parallel lives because we had so much in common....but we had still not met face to face. Then Sherri starts planning her wedding, and guess who she asked to be her Maid of Honor?

Yep - you're right, it was me! So we finally met face to face at the airport when I arrived in Ontario, about 4 days before her wedding. We had an instant connection with each other in person, too! Since then, we've gotten together numerous times, and still email or telephone almost daily. Every time we get together, it's just like we have always known each other, and like we just had vanilla latte's together yesterday. It's very weird, but wonderful!

In the time I've known Sherri, we have also evolved in our quilting skills. Sherri began teaching quilting classes shortly after I met her on-line, and that fed her love of making her own quilt designs. Which brings me to tell you about Border Creek Station Pattern Company. I think Sherri is on her way to being a very popular quilting pattern designer. Please check out her website! My role in our evolution as quilters is being inspirational for Sherri (haha, I am her biggest cheerleader, besides her hubby); I get to be the pattern tester; and I get to be the sounding board for lots and lots of executive decisions. Plus this month I got to attend International Quilt Market in Portland and be her "booth slave". Here's a picture of Sherri in the booth!

Quiltville Mystery Quilts

I love mystery quilts! Show me a new mystery quilt starting somewhere, and I will almost always jump in and play. Bonnie Hunter, over at Quiltville has been hosting some great mystery quilts this year. The first one was called Carolina Crossroads.

Her latest mystery is called "Orange Crush". We are down to the finishing stages of this quilt. I am up to date on all the steps and just waiting to see how this is going to go together. All of the scrappy sections of this quilt were made from my scrap bin, and the main colors from my fabric stash. Here are my blocks! I couldn't bring myself to actually go out and buy orange fabric, but I did find this kind of gold-cheddary fabric in my stash...

Quilt for an Hour

I love making quilts when they are broken down into simple "units". Since I work full-time with an hour commute each way, I'm always looking for some stress-relief type of sewing in the evenings. I find the rhythmic repitition of chain-piecing to be particularly soothing. I recently found Judy Laquidara's "Quilt for an Hour" project and I have been totally jazzed about following along. It has been absolutely the type of sewing that I crave (for an hour!) after a day at work and on the road. Here are my blocks so far, all fabric used in this quilt came from my stash.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rubbing Elbows with the Stars

I recently attended Spring Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon. (More on this was my first time to a Quilt Market!) and guess who I got to meet? Mark Lipinski of "Quilter's Home" magazine. I was a bit starstruck when I first saw him, but decided that I just had to be brave and approach him. Turns out he is incredibly friendly and truly funny in person. He graciously autographed a magazine for me and posed for a photo!

Block of the Month

My local Quilt Guild, "Quilter's Unlimited" (Haymarket, VA Chapter) has a block of the month program. Each month a block is presented; members can choose to make one (or more) blocks and bring to the next meeting. The blocks are then put into a "raffle" amongst all those members who made and brought blocks. In addition, you can follow along monthly making a set of blocks to keep, if you wish. At the end of the guild year, each member who has their blocks put together into a quilt top (doesn't have to be quilted) will be eligible to take part in a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to a local fabric store. Being a bit competitive in nature....I'm not about to miss out on a potential prize! Our end of year meeting will be June 12, so I'll let you know if my name is drawn for the prize! Here's my setting with the 9 blocks from our Block of the Month program....and say hello to April, my 18 year old kitty.

Joining the Fun

Here we go...joining in with all you bloggers out there! Hope I can get the hang of this!