Monday, March 14, 2016


I have to start this post with a simple statement.  I LOVE me some Tula Pink!  Her quirky way of looking at simple things engages my brain like few other fabric designers can.  I mean who ever thought to themselves, ‘I think I will make an entire fabric line based on a purple raccoon’?  Simply fabulous!

About a year ago, the man and I were driving around Knoxville Tennessee and Google helped us find the greatest little store.   I had seen pictures of Tula’s ‘Elizabeth’ line but hadn’t fondled any of it yet.  I wandered through the fabrics oogling the batiks and solids then, across the room, I saw it…the modern fabric section.  I spotted the Kaffe Fassett fabrics and then next to that, the entire Elizabeth line, in all the colorways!  I was so excited, I think I squealed a little and scared my husband.  I rushed over and started pulling them out and thinking…which ones and how much?  Even when I don’t have to, I make it a point to set a money limit for myself.  This keeps my budget right and my stash in line.  I try to only buy fabric that has in immediate purpose and not just because I like it (of course there are always exceptions to every rule).  These plans proved to be harder than usual on this particular day.   I ended up choosing 3 yards of this:

Isn’t she lovely?  Being a big history buff as well as fabric collector, something about this face spoke to me.  I didn’t have a plan for her, I just knew I NEEDED it. 
So I get it home, wash it up and just leave it where I can see for a while.  She still didn’t have a home, when I got this magazine in the mail. 

It is my habit to savor my quilting magazines (even though my reaction at the mailbox looks something like this):

I make a cup of tea and wait for the kids to go to bed and while the man watches TV, I tune it out and flip through the pages one at a time.  Sometimes I am lucky and there is lots of inspiration to be found on one issue, sometimes I am not and I simply toss the magazine on the floor next to the bed to be added to the stack of stuff to be donated to the Quilt Guild’s rummage sale donations.   This particular magazine was loaded with ideas of quilts to be made but there was one pattern in particular that jumped out and screamed “this is where Elizabeth needs to live!”  The pattern was called ‘Fresh Fleurs’.   The pattern is a modern take on a traditional log cabin block with a focus fabric in the center and large logs that go around and create the look of mitered boxes.

There were a couple of different layout options, none of which I was too crazy about.   I opted to use fabrics from my stash to compliment the purples and oranges in the motif, there was even a fabric that I have been sitting on for years that worked great for the border.  I made a few blocks and played with the layout, then decided that I wanted more color so made a few more blocks with the center fabric framed with orange and played with the layout some more.  Finally the finished plan could be seen, a few more blocks needed to be put together to finish that plan and this was the end result.

Quilting this one was lots of fun!  I wanted to keep the modern feel but pay homage to the classiness that was Queen Elizabeth.  I opted for a pattern with feathers and a sort of lacy feel. Overall, I am pretty happy with the end result.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Gram's Scrap Quilt

A couple of years ago, my parents were here for a visit.  My mom was flipping though a stack of my quilting magazines and spotted a quilt that was an ad for something (I don't remember what).She obviously wanted it. ;)

I took her on a field trip to my favorite local quilt shop and asked her to pick out one fabric that she really loved. She did that, then I picked out a few fabrics that went well with that.  We brought it all home and I rummaged through my stash to find a few more fabrics to finish off the design.

It was one of those patterns with lots of waste.  You know the kind here you sew a diagonal seam and then trim off the excess fabric?  I hate waste!  I am one of  those people that is on a mission to have a waste free home.  I also reuse or find a purpose for just about everything in my studio.  I have 9 boxes of string fabrics sorted by color.  I keep 3 different sets of boxes for various size scraps.  Even the tiny bits of fabric that should go in the trash, I save and fill up trash bags then donate that to the local shelter that makes pillows for the homeless.  That being said, I don't like 'goose poop' (those left over triangles from making flying geese).  When I know that a pattern will create lots of waste from cutting these diagonal seams, I will simple sew a second seam 1/2 inch away from the first, trim the block and viola, I have a whole set of half square triangles to play with.  This is what I did with my mom's quilt and this was the result:

Lots and lots of jewel tone and Asian themed fabrics, I would be crazy to throw away this beautiful mess right?  I am pretty sure my need not to waste things was inherited from my Grandmother. This is a picture of here taken a few months ago with my brother.

She is my Mom's Mom and was born in 1933 in England, some quick math and basic knowledge of history will tell you that as a child she survived the German Blitzkrieg.  She came away from that with few things and little education (who has time to worry about little girl's education with a war on).  Even though things turned out all right for her, she met and married an American serviceman in 1953, traveled the world and settled in Las Vegas in the early 70s where they finished raising their 5 children.  She has always been frugal and well a nervous person.  She doesn't like to have things that don't serve a purpose and decorating has never really been her thing.  When I asked her if she would like a quilt, she just sort of shruged and said 'I have plenty of blankets'.

While I was trying to decide what to do with the left over bits, Grammy (as the grand kids always called her) popped into my head. I thought 'she won't tell me what she wants but this is what she is going to get'.  I mean what kind of quilter doesn't make a quilt for their grandmother, right?  The sort of trip around the world look with half square triangles has always appealed to me, I just never had an opportunity to make one.  With all of the blocks sharing the same cream on cream print, the pattern came together quickly.  I had to make about 100 extra blocks to get it to the size that I liked.  That also used up most of the left over fabric from my mom's quilt too.  I am always happy when I DON'T add more scraps to my collection.  This was the end result of all that:

I opted for an allover quilting motif with dragonflies in a cream colored thread. She not only likes the quilt, my mom says she uses it on her bed everyday.  Being the worried person that she is, she tends to save things for special occasions.  That means that most of the things she cherishes don't see the light of day very much. I hope that she gets many more years out of this quilt, it is one of my favorites!


Friday, November 13, 2015

"Mom and Dad's" Quilt

Do you all remember by 'sister' Tianna?  This is a post about the quilt that I made for her parents.  We were trying to think of something great for their 40th wedding anniversary.  A quilt was the obvious choice.  She left the design up to me but mom was specific about wanting blue.  I knew this was going to be the input she would have because the the I remember most about their house when I was young was that everything was blue! LOL  

There was a great pattern called China Girl by Fons and Porter.  Of course it was pink and as I have said before, pink is not my favorite.  I could easily see it in green and blue,  I often say that I learn something from every quilt I make.  The think I learned from this quilt is that I don't like using templates.  I do however love the result. 

There was a lot of pieces to work with...

After making many many blocks, they were then trimmed down with said obnoxious template.  Getting everything to line up was actually pretty easy and fun.

I chose to do a simple all over quilting design that made everything feel connected but didn't distract from the sort of Celtic knot pattern of the quilt top. 

Mom picked the colors but Dad gets to model it. 

Here is to one of those successful marriage stories that everyone loves to hear.  I hope this quilt stays with them for many more anniversaries to come! 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carrie Loves Petey

 This is my buddy Carrie, isn’t she lovely?  She is one of those people that can make you feel better about yourself just because you know her.

This is a picture of Mr. Petey (short for Petruchio for any of you Shakespeare nerds out there).  Petey was Carrie’s soulmate.  They were our neighbors for about 3 years.



I love all animals but if I had to choose a label, I am a self-proclaimed cat-person.  That’s not to say that I don’t like dogs just if I had my pick, it would be cats every time…until I met Petey that is.  He was the purest soul I ever met.  He was always happy and the embodiment of the words ‘social butterfly’.  He hated being confined to the house.  As soon as Carrie would leave for work, Petey would go on a walkabout around the neighborhood.  His first stop… my studio door.  He would look in the window to see if Doodle was around.  If the cat happened to be on the front porch, the boys would play a little while before Petey would come back to the door and patiently wait until I let him in, when the weather was nice, I would just leave the door open so he could come and go as he pleased.  First, he would check to see if the kids were home…he checked each room of the house.  If they happened to be on the couch or still in bed, he would cuddle with anyone that would let him.  If the kids weren’t home, he could check to see if there were any morsels left around the kitchen table or floor.  Once his perusal of the house was done, he could come back in my studio and hang with me for a while, usually right under my sewing table by my feet, napping in the sun if possible.   Once he decided that he has spent enough time with me, he would get up and stand next to wherever I was with the most adorable grin.  He knew that I kept treats in my desk.  He also knew I would only give him one.  He got his treat, a few ear scratches and went on about his business.  I am not sure how many people he would visit but I can honestly say that our little routine was one of the highlights of my day.  Many days he would return after the kids got home from school but his routine was different in the afternoons and didn’t involve the quiet time exchange.  I miss those times.

Cute baby picture

How could you not give this face a treat?


Carrie was involved in a rather serious car accident late one evening while on her way to visit her sister in Ohio.  She sustained only minor injuries but Petey was not so fortunate.  He died at the scene of the accident.  Carrie was devastated.  It was also the first time that my kids had experienced the loss of a loved one.  I know that he was a dog and not even our dog but my kids loved him and he loved them.  We had a little memorial service for him and the kids all got to say goodbye word and tossing some of his favorite treats in the grave with him.  A beautiful Crepe Myrtle is growing atop of him now. 


Before we even buried him, Carrie’s sister Angie and our friend Lisa asked me about making a quilt in memory of Petey since Carrie was planning to bury him in his favorite quilt.  I was happy to start planning something.  I went through my stash of pictures that I had of him which were surprisingly ample considering that again, he wasn’t my dog.  The other two ladies also emailed me pictures that they had of him as well of her and both of them together.  There was a pattern in the Fons and Porter magazine that month that had a nice space in it to put pictures.  It was therapeutic to edit and work with the pictures and see his sweet little face while I was making the quilt.

He gave good stink-eye too.

Yes, that's MY husband and MY bed!

As it always happens, it takes time to get something like this completed, especially with life getting in the way.  It took me right about a year to get this gift finished.  As luck would have it, right about the time that the quilt was ready, Carrie moved into a new house.  It made a great housewarming gift.  While I miss having both of them as neighbors, I am overjoyed for Carrie as her life has progressed and changed since she lost Petey.  I hope that this quilt brings her happy memories of her boy.