Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Did I make hexies yesterday....

"No," she says.

It was just one of those days. I definitely have a touch of something - a mild cold? I don't feel THAT bad, but just wasn't up to par. I kept getting updates about my FIL - non of them good.

I need to work on something to pass the time though. I made this little curtain to hang on the front of my ironing station. This covers the messy storage under the table, along with the bed risers under each leg of the table. A cleaner look...I like it. I started with an inexpensive curtain from Walmart, purchased specifically for this project. I so tired of tan! So I went for gray! Yes, gray it is and it works! I bought a (cheap) curtain rod and hung it with two Command Hooks.

Because I started with a curtain panel, I didn't have to finish the sides or hem the bottom - I just cut off the amount I needed, folded over the top and stitched the rod pocket. EASY! And I have enough curtain fabric left to use for something else.

I coughed all night long last night, but luckily I was able to sleep late - a very good thing! Hopefully I'll get back on track with quilting today. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


It's so much fun to finally put blocks together!!! Yippee! I made 9 on these. I also calculated how many alternate blocks I need to make. I'll have to make more sub-units before I made those blocks - but that will be for another day.

And I made 3 loaves of bread - turned out well. I put 2 in the freezer for later. I'll use it for sandwiches, etc.

Today is HEXIE day!!! I hope to get lots done.

I woke up with a sore throat - WHAT? - didn't I just have a head cold? I don't feel I'll keep on trucking and drink lots of hot tea with honey and lemon.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Are you wondering if I found my free motion quilting foot? The short answer is 'NO'.

The long answer is...
I looked high and low. Then I sat and though back to our time at the lake. Did I really have it there? Now I'm not so sure. I don't think I did have it there. I know I didn't use it while there - I quilted the bridesmaid quilts with straight lines. I'm thinking it's still packed up in storage. I'm thinking I'll go over there and dig around...though I'm not sure how much luck I'll have - it may be buried for a few more months.

And so, I'll put aside my thread painting project for the time being. It's not like I don't have other projects to work on!

Yesterday I did finish the striped border on the needlepoint piece - still more to do, but it'll all fun now.

Today Allietare is up on the schedule - I think I'll put some blocks together.

Also I'm making bread. I had intended to do this yesterday, but never got around to it. I've already made the dough and it's rising on the screened porch. I decided to take Cooper on a walk early this morning - let's just say he ate something he shouldn't have (as in an entire pan of biscuits!) while I was outside watering plants last night. I had a feeling he might need an early morning constitution to clear himself out. He was successful. And I did NOT have biscuits for breakfast this morning...

I also order two of these this morning. We been wanting to replace the 'builder grade' pendants over our kitchen island and I think this style will work great.

I still need to order two chandeliers for over our dining room table. I did not like the one the builder had planned to hang so we nixed it. Hoping to get those ordered today so the electrician can come and hang them.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Where in the World?

This little quilt is all layered and ready to thread paint. I gathered the thread colors I need - luckily I have a nice collection of Aurofil.

But my free motion quilting foot is missing! I know I had it at the lake earlier this year. And I thought I had kept all my sewing stuff together and brought it here to the cottage. But where is it?

In a few minutes I'm going to rip this house apart - it's got to be here SOMEWHERE!

The doggies decided to sunbathe on the screened porch this morning - they do love the sun!

Last night I worked on my won't believe how close I am to finishing! This striped border is my least favorite part...

I'm hoping (fingers crossed!) that I can find my missing foot so I can thread paint a bit later. I also have some hexie plans for later...

Friday, August 26, 2016

Happy National Dog Day!

Yes, I'm a bit late posting today. I was supposed to go on a day trip with friends, but I ended up canceling because Hubby had to be away and it was just too long to leave the doggies in their crates...especially on National Dog Day. :)

So what did I do instead? Well, of course there's a story behind it. And YES, I started another project! EEK!

I signed up for a class in Houston this fall - I typically don't take classes when I go to Houston, but this was one I was REALLY interested in taking. Thread Painting with Pam Holland. So I registered as early as I could....and found out the class was already full. DARN!

Then I realized that Craftsy has a Thread Painting class by Pam Holland! BOOM! $30 later and the click of a button and I got it! So it's been sitting dormant in my computer feed from Craftsy for weeks. I figure what better way to spend the day than to watch some of the class.

I'm watching a bit, then doing what she taught in that lesson...then watching more, and doing that. Step by step....just as if I were in her class.

So today I selected a picture (Mickey) and printed it on fabric. I selected a background fabric with care. I wanted something blue since Mickey's eyes are blue. And Mickey, though a male dog, is rather dainty and effeminate. So I picked something with flowers. I have the picture on fabric attached to the background.

Next I picked out a backing fabric...another floral.

And so now I need to pick up some batting (tomorrow) and I'll be ready to stitch.

Since I made hexies yesterday, I didn't feel guilty for doing something different today.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

More Hand Quilting

Yesterday was hand quilting day. I'm now more than halfway done with the quilting on the second block. It really goes faster than you'd think.

Hubby and I watched some of our TV shows on Netflix while I quilted. We also went out for lunch at a new TexMex restaurant in town. Yum! Late afternoon our next door neighbor had us over for wine and chit chat. It was a good day!

Today the hourglass blocks are up, BUT I think I'll switch to hexies - tomorrow (hexie day) I have some plans to go on a 'field trip' with some friends.

Lots of love from me to you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Few Hexies...

Yesterday I finished basting this group and then machine stitched them. Not a ton of progress, but progress, still.

I also spent some time cooking...Hubby came home last night! I haven't talking about this much here, but Hubby has been in Birmingham for about 2 weeks helping with his father. My FIL's cancer has unfortunately spread to his brain. There is no cure at this point, so the goal is to  make his last few months as happy and comfortable as possible. Hubby will be back and forth a good bit. Sad times, but I'm really glad to have the Hubster back here this week. He is exhausted, both mentally and physically, so we plan to relax and enjoy life this week.

Today Lollypop Trees are up to bat - I'll be hand quilting while Hubby and I relax!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Allietare!

When I pulled out Allietare to begin sewing yesterday, I didn't know I hadn't pressed open all the half square I did that first.

The I made a pile of these little units - I did a pretty good job of matching points and corners...

While was busy, the doggies decided to share Cooper's bed and wrestle a bit.

I have now made enough parts and pieces to see what the two blocks will look like!

I really love this pattern! I need to make more units (especially the ones I made Sunday). I scaled up my version of Bonnie Hunter's pattern - based on 2.5" strips instead of 2" strips. So I knew I would make fewer blocks than she called for. And I'm not planning for my quilt to be as big as her's either. 
I'm basically just winging how many units I need. So I'll start making blocks, and making more sub-units until......I have enough!

I also made a double batch of Chocolate Banana Bread - I found the recipe on Pinterest here - it's SO good!

Today is Hexie day!!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Machine Piecing!

Since I wanted to rest my hands yesterday I cut and stitched the next Allietare clue - Clue Number 4 in done! You know, I've always said that I'm not a good piecer. I really need to stop and measure MORE! Most of these units are a bit off - this was the best one and even at that it's a bit wobbly.

And guess what? Today's schedule calls for Allietare! The pieces for Clue 5 are already cut - some are half square triangles that were made in Clue 1 - so that will be easy to jump into this morning.

I'm loving the progress I'm making on ALL my progress. And I like that I have hexie scheduled for more days than the other projects. Once a project is complete, I'll move something else into the rotation. It's working!

Mickey was my helper yesterday...always underneath a quilt.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Yesterday was all about hand work! I finished quilting the first block of Lollypop Trees - made this photo big so hopefully you can see the quilting.

Last night I began work on the second block. I decide to put my first initial, 'J', in the quilting. Can you see it? It's a bit subtle...wondering if I should outline it with a chain stitch? What do you think?

This is typical around our house...I was eating breakfast..and someone wanted a bite...

I also worked on my needlepoint yesterday and basted a few hexies.

I think I need to give my hands a rest today... so I'll work on something else. Hmmm...maybe I will cut out the next pieces for my Allietare. And maybe some hourglass blocks? We'll see.

Have a great day!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hexie Stitching

This happening yesterday! Machine stitching hexies together.

AND I basted more hexies!

And now it's the weekend. According to my new schedule it's my choice today and tomorrow. Hmmm.... I think I'll work on hexies, AND hand quilting Lollypop Trees, AND a bit of needlepoint. Sounds like a plan to me!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Upholstered Cushion

This is a window seat in Daughter 1's home. This is her office - should have taken more pictures because it is lovely. Lots of white with touches of gold. She found this fabric with a bit of gold. Perfection! And fun!

And I came home with a cot type bed that their dog doesn't really like. I put Cooper's bed on top of it and he loves it! Have you ever seen a dog look more comfy?

Our daughter came by this morning and took Cooper back to her house for a few hours to play with Scout. What a fun day he will have. But I miss him already!

I didn't get many hourglass blocks done yesterday - it was just one of those hexies are up again! I'm excited!!! But first I'm putting dinner in the crockpot...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Quilting, Quilting, Quilting

Yesterday's first priority was to finish the latest chemo hat/scarf. DONE! These are reversible - love the two prints on this one! It's for an attorney - I figure she wears black pants often.

And since it was a day to work on Lollypop Trees, I chose to continue with the hand quilting. What was I thinking?! Yes, this will take a bit of time. But it will be worth it in the end!

As you can see above, I quilted a spiral in it yesterday. That got me thinking...maybe I'll quilt my initials in it?

I've been watching a lot of Netflix this week while I sew. I've watched the movie, Mean Creek, the documentary, Twinsters, and a couple of episodes of Longmire.

Today the hourglass block are up to bat. I know...these are supposed to be a Leader/Ender project, but I don't piece a lot of quilts. So a Leader/Ender project would never get done around here! I plan for this to be a small project - maybe a wall hanging, or a few pillows...we'll just see how big it gets.

I'm headed to my daughter's home later this morning - she's on vacation for a couple of days so today I'm helping her upholster a window seat cushion. Should be fun!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Hexie Happened!

First up yesterday was machine stitching a pile of hexie pieces that were already basted. DONE!

Then I basted a pile of hexies that had no curved piecing. DONE! (Don't you love those fussy cut lions?)

Here was my helper. Mickey snuggled up in a hexie quilt in the comfy sewing room chair.

I also worked on the chemo hat yesterday. I'll finish it today! And according to my new schedule, today is slated for Lollypop Trees. Fun!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Needlepoint Update

I've been making steady progress on my needlepoint project. Here I'm holding it up to a window so it's easier to see the parts left to be stitched.

You may remember I started this almost 20 years ago, stitched one corner, and put it aside. I picked it up again soon after we moved into the cottage 3 months ago.

Now I can't imagine why I put it aside! I'll be finished with it in the foreseeable future. I worked on this last night while watching TV instead of my hand quilting.

Yesterday I didn't have much time for sewing. My errands and house cleaning chores took most of the day. But I did cut out a chemo hat for another friend. Today I want to sew it together and get it in the mail.

Since I have so many projects going on at once, I've decided I need a schedule to make sure nothing falls by the wayside. I'm thinking about something like this:

Monday: Allietare
Tuesday: Hexies (BLISS)
Wednesday: Lollypop Trees
Thursday: Hourglass blocks
Friday: Hexies (BLISS)
Weekend: My choice!

In the evenings I'll either work on needlepoint or hand quilting.

That means today I'll be working on hexies! Yay! I think I'll find a Netflix movie to watch while I sew.

Monday, August 15, 2016

So I Got a Little Carried Away...

I didn't plan on doing THIS MUCH hand quilting...

I was engrossed in an episode of Foyle's War (each episode is the length of a movie). 

This is the most relaxing activity...

And before you know it...I had done this.

And you know what that means, don't you?

Now the entire quilt must be quilted this densely.

And that's fine with me!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Bit of Hourglass Sewing

Aren't these mushrooms cute? We had a fair amount a rain during the last week - a really nice shower every single day...hence a few mushrooms here and there. Cooper doesn't know what to think of them.

I did do a bit of machine sewing yesterday - made a handful of hourglass blocks...

...and put them together. There will be no rhyme or reason to this quilt - just scrappy and hodge podge. I love scrappy quilts with no real plan in mind - fun, fun, fun!

My hand quilting continues. Hubby and I have been watching Foyle's War on Netflix - a great show for hand quilting.

Friday, August 12, 2016

More of the Same...

I'm still hand quilting. And that is all. I haven't been working on hexies...though I will soon. I haven't been working on needlepoint...though I will soon. I haven't been working on hourglass units...though I will soon. I haven't been working on Allietare...but I will soon. I would not be happy doing one single project at a time!

My brother is in town and stayed here last night. He's moving his middle son into the condo - he bought our condo a few months ago. Always good to see him!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hand Quilting!

I couldn't resist! I already own a bucketload of perle cotton. I had never planned to hand quilt Lollypop Trees, but once I had the first row basted it simply called for it.

I did machine quilt in the ditch first to stabilize everything.

What fun! I find this process SO relaxing. I'm not worried about perfect stitches. The pattern itself is folk art inspired and I think my quilting should be in the same vein.

I have to be careful with my perle cotton balls... Cooper would love to steal them. He's tried several times. I try to remember to put them inside a box when I'm not using them.

I have a few household chores today and a couple of errands, but I'm sure I'll have time for sewing, too.

Hope you have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Favorite Quilting Tool

Do you have a favorite quilting tip or tool? I'm especially interested in tools that seemingly have nothing to do with quilting!

This neck pillow is my favorite thing when it comes to handwork. When I'm sitting in on the sofa or in a recliner, the pillow supports my neck and allows me to stitch in a more ergonomically correct position. Being an Industrial Engineer, I took a few classes on Ergonomics in college. Yes, it's important!

My pillow helps prevent neck and back strain. When hand sewing I have a tendency to tilt my head forward - but the pillow helps to support those muscles so they are no always flexed. It's a life (NECK!) saver! 

My pillow came from Bed Bath and Beyond. It's memory foam and the cover can zip off for washing - love that! It was around $20 and worth every penny!

I love to hand applique, hand quilt, hand stitch hexies - so much hand work! And I can't tell you how much my little pillow helps!

As far as hand quilting goes...did you notice the picture in yesterday's blog post? I'll tell you more about that soon...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thoughts on the Current State of the Quilting Industry

I’ve been reading a few articles recently about the current state of quilting industry.  A national quilting magazine (Quilters Newletter) is going under. Quilt shops are closing. So what does this mean? Is the industry failing? And why is this happening? Why? Why?

I hear theories:
-Quilters (as a whole) are getting old!
-Too much on-line shopping for fabric instead of brick and mortar stores
-The industry is bloated

While many of us quilters are older, there are always young ones coming into the fold. So I don’t agree with the first theory. Quilting is alive and well!

Yes, many of us do shop for fabric on-line. But most of us also shop in brick and mortar stores, too. To stay in business, brick and mortar stores must carry fabric that quilters want,  teach classes that are challenging, and have an encouraging attitude to attract customers. They must keep the fabric fresh and new to keep us coming in often. And maybe they should think about expanding to on-line shopping, too, if feasible.

It seems every time a quilt store closes, it is blamed on on-line shopping. But we tend to forget one key factor. A quilt store is a small business, usually run by a quilter. That quilter may or may not be an astute business person. It take a lot of business savvy to run any small business.  And not all quilters are business savvy. Many quilt shops probably close because they are simply not run well.  

Sites such as Craftsy and Massdrop often have phenomenal sales – who can resist? Who can say, “Don’t by on-line at all! Buy the more expensive products at local shops!” Remember, many quilters live on tight budgets. You can’t expect quilters to never buy on-line. There’s a happy mix. I do try to buy locally if I can, but sometimes what I want is only available on-line.

Is the quilting industry bloated? Yes, I think so. I do tire of seeing someone share a technique that is touted as “new” when I’ve seen it over and over. It seems that many quilters fancy themselves to be national teachers – but they don’t bring anything new to the table.  They teach things we’ve seen before.

I’m offended by ‘national teachers’ who literally beg for followers on Facebook or Instagram. It’s as if they think they’ll get hired for more jobs if they have more followers. I often find that such teachers don’t have the quality of work to back up their touted abilities. 

That being said, there are LOTS of great quilting teachers out there! But it’s expensive for quilt guilds to hire them, paying their teaching fees, airline tickets, hotel, food, baggage fees, airport shuttles, snacks…  Some guilds are small and simply can’t afford to hire the big names.

I’ve been on all sides of this issue – as a guild member, as a guild officer in charge of hiring national speakers, and as a national quilt teacher.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

As a guild member it’s so important to TAKE THE CLASSES offered by your guild’s hired national teacher(s)! Support your guild! Even if you think it’s not something you’ll find interesting…take it anyway! I’ve never taken a class where I didn’t learn something new that I would use from time to time. And if the classes don’t fill, your guild may not come close to breaking even on money.

As a guild officer bringing in teachers it’s so important to know the pulse of your guild. You must see past what you would personally want and bring in a teacher that most of your guild would like. Talk to members. Ask them who they would love to learn from or which skills they’d like to learn.

As a former national teacher I’ve had guilds try to negotiate my prices. I really hate when they’ve done that. Why should I give your guild a better deal than another? I know it seems expensive to hire national teachers. But you need to remember the time the teacher spends at home getting ready to teach at your guild. I know I have spent weeks on lecture presentations. I have spent years making the quilts that I have brought to share with your guild. I spend lots of time on kits for classes and instructions to hand out. Not to mention, think of the teachers’ travel time and the inconveniences of having to leave at 3 AM to catch a flight or having to board her pets while she is gone from her home.  I think national teachers are worth their weight in gold. The busy ones essentially give up their home life to be on the road all the time.

For many national teachers, this income is necessary. For me it was not. And that’s one reason I stepped away. I did love to teach at guilds, but I love being home more.

So why are quilt magazines failing? And why is a major quilt publisher (American Quilters Society) no longer publishing books?

Some of this, I believe, is for the some of the reasons I’ve already mentioned. Same old, same old. Why buy a magazine when it has patterns we’ve seen before? How many nine-patch patterns do we really need? Give us something new! And I feel the same about books – I can tell the publishing houses that really put thought and planning into their book lines. And I can tell the ones who do not do this – and I think AQS failed in this arena. They have continually published books by their own employees, and hired these employees to teach at their shows, leaving out other AQS authors who might be more popular.

I also think the Internet has so much to do with the changes in the quilting industry.  And I’m a part of this, too. There are so many blogs that offer free patterns constantly. You can find dozens of free BOM’s every year. Piecing, applique, whatever – you can find a free pattern through a blog or on Pinterest.

And many of us more experienced quilters can look at a quilt we admire and figure out how to make it without a pattern.  And as long as we only make it for our own use, we’re not doing anything wrong.

And so…that’s my take on the current state of the quilting industry. It’s definitely NOT a failing industry! It’s just changing with the times. And it will continue to change with the times. And so it goes...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Circle of Life

No picture today. I haven't sewn in a few days - hopefully tomorrow I'll get back at it.

Our visit here with my FIL was a mixed blessing. He was a joy to have around. But his mind was wilting away right in front of us. You could almost see it happen before your eyes. It was as if a breeze blew in one ear and took part of his reasoning and comprehension ability out the other ear. We took him back home yesterday and explained to my MIL and brother-in-law what was happening. They saw it first hand within minutes. We feel we have lost him already though he's still living and breathing. We fear he has had a stroke. Or something. Brain scan will be done on Tuesday. This new issue has far surpassed his cancer in concern. We think his radiation treatments will never happen.

He called hubby this afternoon. They talked a few minutes and then he asked to speak to me. (He never talks to me on the phone...) He was so sweet - thanked me for cooking for him - totally made my day. He was upbeat and told me he was having a great day (though I know otherwise...)

We'll see what this week brings. Hubby has come down with the head cold I had last week. He's resting today and tomorrow and will then head back to B'ham to help out with his dad.

Switching gears...
Have you been reading all the article about the current state of the quilting industry? I have some things to say... (you knew I would, didn't you?)...stay tuned...

I'm determine to get things done on quilts this week! Let's pick up that needle and thread!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Feeling Better!!!

I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better! Yay! And you know what that means? SEWING!!!

I hope to baste more curved hexies today. And I hope to do a bit of quilting on my Lollypop Trees row. Can't wait to dive in!

Hubby just left for Birmingham. He's going with his dad and the rest of the family to doctor appointments for my FIL. And he's bringing said FIL back with him for a couple of days. We will treat him to some good food, drives around campus, and porch relaxing. And hopefully provide those Birmingham family members some much needed rest.

Cheers! Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Random Thoughts

I'm still I haven't felt like sewing. I have done a bit of needlepoint in the evenings though. I think the worst of my cold is over - just the dregs left that will drag on a few more days.

Mickey doesn't mind when someone is sick - he always has a lap and quilt in times like this. Happy doggy...

Yesterday one of our nice neighbors hired the ice cream truck to come to our street and provide free treats to all the construction workers as a thank you for keeping the worksites neat and clean. They do a good job around here. The builder has a street sweeping machine that goes up and down the street a few times per day; it really helps to keep the dust down. Our street will be built out soon - in the next several months.

I'm hoping I feel like sewing later today!