Category Archives: Quilting

A Little Stitching is Better Than None!

Ok, so my world is crazy busy…I think I worked four evenings last week on top of having kids all day for all five days. Plus, there was a situation of massive unfairness towards my daughter (can’t share details right now) which threw me for an emotional loop. However, Friday and Saturday I got some fun stitching time in. I started by looking at the full-sized laundry basket hiding under my kitchen sewing station.

wpid-20150613_113237.jpg As I was staring at it planning my attack, several unhemmed napkins caught my eye. So, without baby on Friday, I hemmed four of them before the day was out (that’s working a bit here and there while the kids have snack, etc.) These are made from the left over Daisy Kingdom yardage that I used for the first curtains in this house.  My goal is to make enough of them for the kids to use them at snack time on a daily basis.   A small move towards a more environmentally friendly house. wpid-20150613_113212.jpg I spent Saturday doing the quilting on a friend’s quilt she made for her grandson.  I love what she did with the fabrics…each one relates to something he loves. wpid-20150613_194836.jpg Do you remember this fabric?  It was one of my thrift store finds and I decided to make the hubs a new shirt as my June goal.  Well, last night I got it all cut out and this morning I was going to spend some time getting to know my new (to me) serger but, alas, life had other plans.  This little lady stayed out all night and didn’t come home in the morning so hubs and I had to mount a rescue effort at the local bio swale. wpid-20150614_124008.jpg She was hungry but no worse for wear.  The stray cat, Spooky, that we’ve fed for over a year has gone missing and I wonder if she’s pining for him. After all, what girl can resist a man in a tuxedo? And, finally, last week my mom and I made a visit to our favorite thrift store where I added these pretties to my stash… wpid-20150604_124913.jpg The blue and red have over 10 yards each and I averages $1 – $2 per yard.  I’m already planning a quilt back from one and a shirt from the basketball fabric. It’s another busy week ahead but I’m planning to draft my “dog days” mini this week. The idea has been percolating and I hope my partner will be pleased!  It’s my first swap so I’m pretty nervous.  You can read more about it over at “The Quilted Cat.” Look for some more book reviews this week….I’m a bit behind and I have a fabulous audiobook I’m listening to, “The Final Silence” by Stuart Neville. Happy quilting and reading! Beth

June Goals and a May/June Finish


It’s done, it’s done!  Labeled and bound and already at home in another state.  It was a perfect morning for photos but, by the time I went to take this photo, Oregon had adopted a “torrential downpour” kind of attitude which made photos outdoors an impossible option.  I finished it two days late for my May finish but I really enjoyed my time with my daughter and mom so it was worth it!

Now, on to June.  My dear husband is in need of a few shirts with the summer heating up so I’ve got a different kind of finish on my list for June.  (Actually, I’m hoping for more than one but let’s be real here.)  I’ve been known to occasionally (cough, cough) buy three yards of fabric with the “it will make a great shirt” justification.  The result is that there are about six or seven large pieces waiting to be sewn into shirts.  Oregon is already heating up and I need to get this man into some more short sleeve shirts pretty quick so my goal is to start with this print


and work my way from there.  Now, lest you think this is a small goal (in my sewing days a shirt was about a two-to-three hour project) I need to confess that this will require the mastery of a new-to-me serger as well.

I’m linking this up to a Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts.

Happy sewing and quilting!

Oh, and I wanted to show you a picture of my graduate with her quilt…I think she’s pretty pleased!


A January Re-cap…blocks and finishes

Oh what an exciting month this January has been! So exciting that I’ve been awfully quiet on here. So, let me tell you what’s been happening…
First, the news! My older daughter who just graduated nursing school in December took her national nursing boards and she passed on the first go! The very next day, she flew to Colorado to interview for a program that takes new grads right into critical care. She had an early interview because she was flying to Copenhagen that afternoon for a trip to Europe (that’s a whole other story) and they called offered her the job before she even got back to the airport! Now, the bad news is that she’s moving to Colorado….but’s that’s yet another story! I’m just so excited for her to have this amazing opportunity to do the kind of nursing she really wants to do!

Now, finishes and blocks.  I found a way to keep track of both by putting little white boards by both my upstairs and downstairs sewing areas.  For January, I made…drumroll, please….


wpid-ncm_0134.jpgFour finishes (not 1,111…lol!)  and between both boards a total of 128 blocks!  Woo hoo!

My first two finishes of the year were charity quilts and so were the second two.  I showed these two in a prior post.  I took this pile of fabric


to this make this quilt.


Then I finished the quilting and binding on the top charity quilt in this pile.


I had stumbled on this lovely bag of pastel scraps on our guild’s free scrap  table.

I didn't think to photograph the bag until I'd already started so it was fuller than this at first!

I didn’t think to photograph the bag until I’d already started so it was fuller than this at first!

Someone had thrown their project leftovers into a bag and, well, sometimes a bag of cute scraps needs to get used right now!  There were already some sewn strip sets for nine-patches and four-patches so I put them together into a doll quilt and a baby quilt for our guild’s charity outreach.  The batting and backings were scrap and free pieces, too so the only investment in these two quilts was the $2 piece of thrift store purple that I used for borders and bindings.


I even got my hand-me-down Handi Quilter (original system that you put your own machine in) up and working and quilted the baby quilt on it.  (There’s a reason that there is no close-up of the quilting!)  I absolutely hated it at first but I’m committing to quilting six charity quilts on it before I give up.  By the end of the first quilt, I was starting to like it.    In between things, I’ve been working hard at cutting scraps into usable strips and squares, etc.  My pile of scraps doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller but it’s hard to tell when you add a scrappy kitty to the mix!


I’m working away on my entry for the We Support You Blog Hop…but I’m a little worried.  You know how sometimes a pattern is just a “jumping off spot?”  Well, I sure hope Madam Samm is going to like where I landed with this one!  In the meantime, here’s the rest of the schedule so you can see what this talented group is up to!  I’m linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes and checking back in with my block total at Prairie Moon.

Happy quilting!



We Support You Blog Hop Full Schedule Jan 29th 

Life in The Scrapatch

Living With Purpose

What About Rheema?

Kwilt Krazy

Jan 30th 

Just Let Me Quilt

Stitch and Quilt

how arT you

Living My Dream

Feb 2nd 


Made By Me In Red

Ga’s House

Sew Incredible Crazy

Feb 3rd 

My Quilting Journey

Creativity Amongst Chaos

Peanut’s Patchwork


Feb  4th 

Kris Loves Fabric

Words & Stitches – That’s me!

Jane’s Quilting

Tea Time Creations

Feb 5th  

Selina Quilts

Dutchess Crazy & Sane Quilting World

Moose Stash Quilting

Lovelli Quilts

Feb 6th  

I Piece 2 – Mary

Baa’s Amazing Adventure

Quilted Delights The Blended Blog

Feb 9th 

Stitchin By The Lake

 Tea Leaf Quilts

Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc

Seams To Be Sew

Stitchen’ My Life Away

Feb 10th  

 Creatin’ In the Sticks

The Quilting Queen Online

Everyone Deserves A Quilt

The Quilted Cat

Hill Valley Quilter

Feb 11th  

Buzzing and Bumbling

In Stitches and Seams

All thingz sewn

The Slow Quilter

Quilts From my Crayon Box

Sew We Quilt

Christmas by a Very Thin Thread…aka Where Have I Been?

Ok, first, let me wish you all a wonderful belated Christmas an a very Happy New Year! Second, let me give you a peek into my schedule these last weeks. I’ve had daycare kids from 6:30 am or 8:00 am until 5:30 and then I’ve worked at the candy store in the evenings and the weekends. I’ve had two whole days off from both jobs since the day after Thanksgiving and one of those was the pinning ceremony (nursing school graduation) of my oldest daughter and the other was chaperoning a parade with the band. To put it mildly, I’ve been busy!  (Oh, and I had oral surgery on the 22nd…just to add to the craziness!) My sum total of sewing was making two hashtag blocks for Molli Sparkles to add to the Sydney Heroes Quilt Project and Christmas would have been nearly non-existent in our house had not my daughters pitched in so much!

Now, lest you think I’ve reverted to whining, let me assure you that I know I’ve already won life’s lottery.  I have a nice husband who indulges me in my fabric pursuits, two wonderful, healthy and fun daughters and a lovely step-daughter.  And while our finances are a bit skimpy at times, they are more than adequate.  In every way that matters, I am wealthy beyond words…except for the one commodity that we all seem chronically short of…time.  Now, however, I have a blissful week off from both jobs and my niece is in town and I’m a very happy camper! (Also, I got my six stitches out of my mouth this morning as an added bonus.)

So, what to do with all this glorious time at my discretion?  Well, sewing is the obvious answer but before that, there was a lot to be done in the cleaning department.  Here are a few before shots of my third floor room.


Lots to do!  So, yesterday, I conscripted my younger daughter and my obliging husband to do a bit of furniture moving.  The big pieces are all moved and now the sewing area is ready to be tackled which is a “me only” kind of job (lest an over-zealous helper should try to pitch any scraps…”gasp, horrors!”)

Here’s the progress so far on the desk and TV areas. The exercise machine is out of the way of the TV viewing area and the big table for the “hand-me-down Handi-Quilter” is now behind the futon.


My plan for this evening is to do a flylady-inspired 15-minute clean followed by 15 minutes of quilting, rinse and repeat until tidy…or at least live-able!  Now, there’s a whole list of things I want to tell/show/discuss with you all including an amazing painting my step-daughter did but all that will have to wait just a tad.  In the meantime, I owe someone a winning comment and that would be comment number 62!  I will be contacting them immediately to get a physical address to send the fabric to…just in time for next year’s Christmas projects!


That’s all for me for the moment but be ready for lots of posts…I want to show my progress on the sewing area (you are keeping me honest) and I have a few stories…lots of stories…lol!

Happy quilting!




Slow but Sure…Mystery Quilt Progress

So, if you haven’t heard (which means you’ve been without internet for a long time or you’ve never heard of Bonnie Hunter), the Grand Illusion Mystery Quilt is up and running. Now, this is something Bonnie generously does every year and I’m not going to break her “no whining” rule. Let me just say that the mystery falls into my two jobs busy season so I’m going to content myself with small progress and hope to finish a few blocks for each clue.

So, for this week, I have this to show for my progress….

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

A little progress is better than none, right?  I’m sort of following Bonnie’s colors but, for now, I’ve just pulled four colors and will add more as I go along.  Everything is out of my stash and that’s how I’m hoping to keep it!

Tonight we are celebrating DH’s birthday so I’ll just link this up to Bonnie’s Link Up and get cooking (literally and quiltingly!)

Happy quilting!


So How Was Your Weekend?

I’ll admit it.  One of the things I miss about working in an office is having the chance to exchange weekend stories.  Especially after this weekend.  This weekend was the annual Willamette Writers Conference here in Portland and I had such fun!  To make it even better, I was able to go to a Quilters Yard Sale hosted at Pioneer Quilts on my way into town for the Saturday conference.  Fabric and people who don’t look at you funny when you rhapsodize about language.  It can’t get much better than that!

So, about the fabric.  This is a yard-sale kind of sale with quilters selling everything from pre-made items to their old stash.  I started at a table with a “fill a lunch bag of scraps for a dollar.”  Three other ladies and I finished off their tub in quick time!

My paper bag of scraps!

My paper bag of scraps!

I also found a few fat quarters, a few larger pieces and a few more bags of coordinated scrap pieces.  I spent about $20 and my haul looked like this!

My  goodies!

My goodies!

So, I don’t know if you’ve read that over at Stitched in Color, there is a purge challenge going on…I think I’ve got it backwards as we were supposed to be using up but I’m adding to!  I’m going to try to see what I have in the bag and what I can plan from it.  It’s ok to start purging with what you just bought, right?

The writers conference was amazing as usual!  I took a couple of classes with Larry Brooks and volunteered in the VIP room.  On Saturday, I looked up and there was my all-time favorite author walking in the door, Mr. Ivan Doig!  I didn’t completely go all fan-girl but I did ask him after he spoke at the banquet if I could get a photo with him.  If you’ve never read his work, do read one, or two or all 14 of his books!  (My current favorite is “The Bartender’s Tale.”)

Me with my writing hero, Ivan Doig!

Me with my writing hero, Ivan Doig!

I wasn’t originally planning on going to the banquet but was gifted with a ticket at the last minute and so was able to her Diana Galbadon (author of the Outlander Series) speak, too.  What an amazing night!  She was an extraordinary speaker and now I want to read her series.

The other amazing thing at the conference was that we had two birds of prey in residence down the hall and they came to visit us once or twice.  Our fearless leader is a falconer and couldn’t leave these two home alone.   Here’s one of our VIP’s holding the hawk


And here’s the adorable falcon that I got to carry down the hall!



It was a fun, busy, exciting weekend and I loved every minute of it!  By Sunday night, though, I was pretty ready for some of this

Just putting my feet up!

Just putting my feet up!

But there’s never a dull moment around here and instead, we got this

My goofy girl!

My goofy girl!

So, that was my weekend. People who love words and people who love fabric…both, in my opinion, the best kind of people out there! Now I’m off to finish some book reviews and start playing with some fabric (in between swim lessons and errands and, well, you know the drill!)

So, how was your weekend?





A Trio of Inspiration from Taunton Press

Recently, I had a chance to review a set of sewing/quilting related books from Taunton Press. I decided to group these together into one post for ease of reading. Some of the books didn’t translate well to Kindle format but they were formatted well enough for me to review. So, what fun books did I get a peek at?


First up was “Hand-Stitched Home” by Susan Beal.  This book is full of fun projects focusing on using Pendleton Wools.  If you’ve been living somewhere distant for the last hundred years or so, Pendleton Wools are a staple in the Pacific Northwest and Pendleton is still one of the oldest running mills in the Pacific Northwest.  Susan has packed this book with an impressive assortment of home sewing projects that range from table runners and draft stoppers to bags and blankets.  Even more interesting to me, though, was the history of the Pendleton Mills.  Whether you choose to make the project in the distinctive Pendleton woven designs or another wool of your choosing, you’ll find a ton of fun uses for wool in this book!


Next up is “Stitch It Simple” by Beth Sheard (with an introduction to Kaffe Fasset.) This book presents 25 simple to create projects designed to appeal to newer crafters.  Using  bright, fun colors and a modern palate, Beth presents a range of projects from aprons and table runners to totes and gift bags.  These projects have a nice range and assortment and the instructions are nicely illustrated with step-by-step directions that should lend confidence to the least experienced crafters.  I’m rather taken with the felt elephants, myself, and may have to sew up a batch.  This is a great book to start working through with a younger sewing enthusiast as many of the projects with teach new skills while achieving a quick and satisfying result.

“Stitch It Simple” is currently scheduled for a October, 2014 release.


Next up, Anna Mazur has put together all the information you need to take your bag making up to the semi-professional level.  This book is not for the casual tote bag maker but for the sewing enthusiast who wants to turn out designer-style bags that will have your friends wondering what bank you robbed to afford such a beauty!

True to the “workshop” name, this is more than merely a collection of directions for various bags.  Starting with the definitions of tools and bag types, this book is an intensive workshop in book form that will allow serious bag makers to expand and perfect their skills.  Coming from Taunton Press in October, 2014, “Handbag Workshop” will make a great holiday gift for a bag enthusiast who wants to advance their skills.

All three of these titles were provided to me by the publisher for this review.  The opinions, however are entirely my own!







Hmmm….What’s Wrong With This Picture?

So, I was working away on my baby quilt project for July. I’d busily made four-patches and then headed on to 1/2-square triangles. Unfortunately, I must have been somewhere else when I was cutting because my blocks ended up like this


Slight size difference.  I guess my mind was saying “2-inch strips” but my hands went right to 2.5″.  These two simply won’t play well together.  However, I am a quilter and there’s always a world of possibility in mistakes.  I already have a plan…stay tuned for an update!  Oh, and I realized that I haven’t done my block count since March…I’m actually planning to go back through my posts for a count.

Does this kind of thing ever happen to you?


Sisters Re-Cap, a Manic Mom-day and a Winner!

Let’s do this in order.  First, our annual camping trip/quilt show trip was great!  Good company, great location, some funny camping stories to add to the list…everything you could want except I didn’t get to go swimming.  I did, however, get to meet Mary Lou Weidman who was at the show with an awesome Cow Quilt Exhibit and meet one of my Flylady Quilter friends at the show (along with spending a lovely day with my older daughter and cousin.)  Oh, and Nick, our 12 year-old Lab got to attend the show for the first time and he loved all the attention.  We also found an awesome place for a quick gluten-free lunch and they even sold “Butterscotch Beer.”  Here’s a quick peek at some of the fun…just what was on my phone, I only unearthed the camera today!

Of course, every vacation ends with a harsh return to real life and ours was yesterday.  My younger daughter is doing theater camp this week and yesterday started with an ortho appointment for her, followed by feeling sick at camp, followed by a rush to the doctor’s office, to the ER for pain management and then home.  The good news is that we have a plan of action to avoid this in the future but the bad news is that the preferred treatment is not covered by her insurance and would have cost $900 for the Rx!  Thankfully, there’s a totally doable Plan B.  I was a tad frazzled after all that so I was very thankful that my husband thought to bring a chicken home from Costco.  It’s hot, hot, hot here in Oregon and we are all wilting.  He said there was a line at the deli in Costco with rotisserie chickens getting picked up as soon as they were packaged.  Obviously, no one wanted to cook any more than I did!

And now, for a winner.  Thank you to everyone who commented on the 501st post giveaway.  The winner, according to Mr. Random is comment number 46. wpid-ncm_0188.jpg

Keep your eyes open for a birthday giveaway.  At the end of next month, I’ll be turning 51 which I’m hoping will be a tad more fun than turning 50 was!  Now that I’m mostly past post-vacation re-entry trauma, I’m planning a few little fun projects.  I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, happy quilting (and reading!)


Some Winning, Some Whining and a lot of Fabric-y Fun!

So, it’s been a couple of weeks and, no, I didn’t actually fall off the planet or the wagon (I was never on the wagon but I liked the way it flowed…sorry!) So, in order of title, I owe a winner to the fabric blogging world and the winner is….

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented. Again, I’m behind in my responses and have no valid excuse….please accept my apologies instead!

So, on to the whining…not so much. My toothlessness is becoming easier to deal with as things heal and, thankfully, it’s way in the back so I haven’t given up smiling. I did have some interesting medical information on my younger daughter that sort of set my head reeling. I came into her life after her big heart surgery and, in my naivety, I assumed the fix they did was “THE FIX.” Something the cardiologist said at our last meeting got me wondering and, in fact, the fix is the “FOR NOW” fix with the possibility of hanging out on the transplant list later in life. So, head officially wrapped around that thought. (Please think about filling out your donor cards…life is an awesome gift to give!) In addition, there is some health stuff going on with my older daughter but we’re still at the “could be, might be, running tests” phase. I’ll let you know when something is definitive.

Now, on to the Fabric-y Fun! I got to take two, yes two, classes with Bonnie Hunter the last week of school! The first was the Cathedral Stars class where I did struggle a tad with my fresh-from-the-shop Featherweight but I got to meet the wonderful Jennifer from The Quilted Cat! We’ve been meeting up in the blogosphere and finally got to meet in real life. (Check out her blog and take it from me that she’s just as charming in person!)

Jennifer from The Quilted Cat, Bonnie Hunter and me!

Jennifer from The Quilted Cat, Bonnie Hunter and me!

The second class with Bonnie was “Love Shack” which is not in her books and is only available as a class as of now. It was a chance to play with scraps and free piecing and all the other things so close to my heart. I hadn’t thought to bring show and tell to the Monday class so I brought a TON to the Wednesday class…especially my quilts with letters on them! And they ended up on Bonnie’s blog here!  (There go my 15 minutes of fame!)
I came home from Bonnie’s classes with a new zeal to get the scraps into usable mode. I have many, many scraps. Think 30 years of quilting worth.  First, I rounded up the scraps hanging out in my “mini-sew zone” in the kitchen. Add them to the scraps I took to class and the ones I brought home from the free table and you have this. The tip of my scrappy iceberg!

On Father’s Day, while cooking, etc., I cut and ironed and cut and ironed out of the bag from the free table and took it from this…

To this…

Left at the bottom of the bag were some abandoned square in a square blocks and stray triangles that will go into the box of orphan blocks.


There were a few strings, too, but I’ve been putting them right to work in the units I need to complete “Love Shack.” I’m thinking about seeing if I can round up a few sponsors and having a Summer Scrapbusting Challenge. Anyone interested in busting some scrap bags into usable strips with me?  I was thinking we could post photos of our scrap bags (ok, pile of bags, boxes and picnic baskets in my case) and show our weekly progress in strips cut up and ready to use.  What do you think? Anyone interested?

Ok, now, next post is my 500th post and I think that calls for a giveaway, don’t you?  I’m off to the fabric store this afternoon if all goes according to plan (and very little does at my house.)  Watch for the next post and I’ll let you know what goodies I find for a little giveaway!

In the meantime…Happy Quilting!