Tuesday, December 31, 2013


My patchwork skills do not fall into the category of offering advice to others.  Far from it......   However, here's a tip that perhaps might come in handy if you are a pre-planner like I am.

I'm in the process of making 'comfort' quilts for two dear friends who both were diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day, in different parts of the country.  A 'drag along and use' lap quilt for each is my way of holding their hands through the treatments ahead.  Here's one of the quilts.....

 ....and here's my little tip....which is certainly not novel but it was helpful to me.  Since I don't enjoy piecing...I often stitch 5 or 6 blocks at a time....stop, position them on my design wall, then cut more fabric and repeat the process. (Rather than cutting and piecing all at once.)  Of course not every block stays where I initially place it....nor do I initially color coordinate the fabric for each location.  However,.....as the quilt blocks in this quilt were nearly all pieced, I took the time to select specific fabrics for the blank spots...and actually placed them there so when pieced I'd know where each should go. 

Look at the arrangement above....it wasn't until I took the photo that I noticed all those beige blocks positioned diagonally in the first 4 rows.....dah.....  So, hint # 2.....take a photo to get a different perspective of your design...it's amazing how helpful this step can be.
 Once all the piecing was completed.....the final arrangement was done....
Here's the quilt with minimal straight line quilting....(if I don't like to piece...you can imagine what my thoughts are about machine quilting, can't you?!?!)

Wrapping a friend with love doesn't require perfectly matched seams or straight quilting lines!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013



We couldn't stand NOT seeing the game....so off we went to Asheville to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch.  The place seemed filled with either Packer or Bear fans(hugh??? really....who'd be a Bear fan anyway.)

Sure, we'd love the team to progress in the playoffs.....but even if they don't.....at least they beat the BEARS!!!!!   

Cheeseheads are happy tonight.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Not to worry....I'm still here......all is well....just taking a short break from blogging.  BUT...I really do thank those of you who were concerned enough about my lack of daily posting to email me!!!  It's much appreciated!

Packer lovers are beginning their nail biting, breath holding as time draws closer to tomorrows big game..... Packers vs Bears ....winner to claim the division title and move onto the playoffs.

 In preparation, Sooty had to try on her Packer jersey.  Though she isn't thrilled with the fit!

However....our biggest weapon.....Hip Hip Hooray.....Aaron Rodgers is BACK....but we lost the golden god, Clay Matthews to a thumb injury.....  

Will the Pack be back???  We sure hope so....and darn it, of course it's not on TV here in NC......so we'll be straining to hear every word of the play by play on the internet.....while we munch on our cheese curds.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013



Saturday, December 21, 2013


This very special embroidered Christmas card, which took over an hour to stitch on her Bernina, was made by my friend Lynn.  She's another Midwest transplant, who grew up in the same Wisconsin town as I did.  Small world.

I wish you could see it in person.....an instant heirloom!

With the holidays now in full swing, I want to take a moment here to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and creative new year. In a few days, I'll be embarking on my 7th year of blogging, who knew?  Your continued interest in my blog is such great incentive for me to create, document, and share.  Thank you....

AND....one more thing.....GO PACKERS.....will there be a Christmas miracle??

Friday, December 20, 2013


Persistence pays off.....sometimes it's the simplest designs that are the most difficult to work through.  In case you missed it, the process of making this piece was blogged about here and again here.  

Forgive the poor quality picture....I must have shot it 45 times.....poor lighting doesn't provide the proper impact of the black and white fabrics.....grrrr!
 GREEN LEAVES  15" X 35.5"
Cotton fabrics, machine appliqued and quilted.

With the holidays fast approaching......our projects usually get put on hold.  So, I'm linking this post to Nina Marie's Off The Wall Fridays, as well as Crazy Mom's Finish It up Fridays, and Whoop Whoop Fridays.  They are a great place to find talented stitchers and much inspiration. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Our Fiber Junkies group was started about 6 years ago with a limited membership of 6.  The idea behind the group was to gather with like-minded fiber artists who were willing to share their own knowledge and explore new ones as well.

Given the busy lifestyle of any creative person, over the years we've said so long (but never goodbye) to a few members, while welcoming new ones.  

 Each December at our holiday party, we refrain from our normal play time,  instead, we enjoy a relaxing day with great friendship and food.  Denny brought this (not only gorgeous) log cake but I can assure you, it was delicious too.

Because we all love giving....yet need to be sensible in our time commitments....we each bring 5 small handmade gifts (by ourselves or someone else) for each other.

Jen Grundy made these over the top gift tags.....each so charming I don't think I could ever use them!
 Judy Simmons, our marbling expert, made book marks!  Tissue lame was marbleized and machine stitched....beautiful to behold!
 Kate Weston presented us with beaded angel ornaments....what a lot of love went into these as each was a different pattern! 
 Denny's gift was a two for one......this clever dyed/screen printed handmade envelope.....
 .....contained her very own small publication, "The Ladies - Women Rethinking Their Lives" by Denny Webster.  It's a collection of quilts she made representing unusual stories of various women. 
 Val McGaughey gifted us each with journals.....covered with her artwork.  The fabrics were dyed, stamped, screen printed, stenciled......which combined into a treasure!!

The group also uses this time together to brainstorm and create a 'goals' list of methods, techniques we wish to explore together in the following year.  Believe me, we did not lack ideas.  The cooperation among our members is fantastic....we take turns organizing/leading the meetings (such as the all important supply lists and lesson plans!)  This allows us to make the best of our time together.  We know we won't become an air brush expert after that method is explored in 2014.......but we are SURE we will be having fun learning.

Monday, December 16, 2013


I do believe I stopped breathing for the last 2 minutes of the game as they pulled off a stunning win, by 1 point against the Dallas Cowboys!!!

All is well in Packerland......Cheeseheads are very, very happy.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


After admitting that I no longer decorate for Christmas....please don't think there is no holiday spirit in our household.   We do have lights outside!!

And....it's Sunday......so I must say:   GO PACKERS!!!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Our annual holiday party was held at Judy's home......she is so generous to open it for our big group.  Without any family coming to visit, our home hasn't gotten decorated in YEARS....ba hum bug.....  
 Judy, on the other hand goes all out....  I loved this charming center piece...greens, pine cones, and candles safely burning away in glass ball canning jars.  Her home helped to put me in the Christmas spirit!!
 NC is second only to the state of OR in the production and sales of Christmas trees....and Judy's family found a beauty this year.
No detail was overlooked in her preparation....we all felt so grown up!  Our group consists of 14.  12 of us were able to attend.
 AND...then there was the food.....beautifully arranged with a herby spread topped with smoked salmon slices on leaves of endive brought by Kate.
 Linda brought her yummy deviled eggs...and some little devil must have thought he'd have a little fun with her on her drive over.  A car cut her off....the eggs went sliding....she was concerned about the presentation but she truly didn't have to worry about the taste!

I'll spare you photos of each dish but can assure you everything was very tasty.....
 I made favors out of the food container boxes that I used to make an advent calendar for our son's family.  Each contained a spool of some kind of specialty thread.
Our show and tell was brief this month as everyone was understandably busy at this time of the year.  Connie shared a commission piece she needs to finish BEFORE Christmas.
Lynne showed this piece....we all loved the unusual, yet effective color combination.
 The highlight (well after the food) is our white elephant exchange.  This year was a FIRST.....not one person 'stole' somebody's gift.  We thought that might be because the gifts were getting better.......
 BUT.....frankly, I'm not sure about that!!!
I feel like I won the lottery....because this antique sewing bird was in my box of goodies.  I know they are very collectible so if anyone is interested, please email me.
Here we all are.....I couldn't be more pleased to be a part of such a wonderful group of talented friends.  It's made my transititon to North Carolina complete!

Friday, December 13, 2013


A big thank you goes out to my childhood friend Linda Mueller who sent me this charming photo. A true sign of the sub zero temperatures that the Mid-West has been experiencing!

 Remember....as the weather gets colder....animals are attracted to the warmth of the cars engines.  Be sure to check wheel arches, under the carriage.....WAIT!   WHAT!!??

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Sure....you all thought I was making excuses about my studio 'work related' injury didn't you?  Haste and carelessness certainly were evident, but a new rotary blade and a new cutting mat allowed the Olfa cutter to fly.

With that said...I was LONG overdue for a new mat....and held off due to the high cost of one as large as required for my table.

I have no relationship with this company.....but can tell you their mats are half the price as what is charged in quilt related business and exactly the same quality.  I ordered online, got it in 2 days and LOVE it.....all the markings are in inches.....yeah...no more metric to work around.  

They carry many different sizes.....check it out here if you are in need.  Consider this a service announcement!  And....in case you are wondering....my finger is much better....tx's everyone for your concern.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Rather than having you dear readers jumping back to the past posts I've written during creation of this tiny piece, here's the Reader's Digest version instead.  However, if you wish to learn what it's really like exploring new techniques you can read about it here then here again....actually, I'm surprised when I look back that I hadn't whined even more!  The stitching encompassed 5+ hours nightly for about 45 days.
The inspiration was a piece of leftover laser cut metal (about 1/8" + thick) found at a local fabricator's studio. (don't be fooled by the web page....it's not all about bikes.....he's an artist in his own right!)
Materials were gathered....though now looking at the pile....very few of these original items were actually used.  But isn't that the way it always works??
After a rough landscape sketch, the single strand embroidery on wool felt began.
 And continued....
 And continued some more...
......till finally it was completed.
 Because the metal motif focal point was heavy, it was necessary to mount the artwork onto a canvas covered frame.
Due to the thickness of the material, it was quite a challenge to obtain clean professional looking corners using the gallery wrap method. 
 Once secured, the next task was to attach the 'iron tree'.  After rejecting many ideas, I settled upon wiring it in place.
 It was a surprise that only two wires held it so firmly!
Here's a view from the front.
A paper label was prepared and attached to the back of the canvas and I signed it as well.

Many artists leave the back of their work as seen in the previous photo.  Being a perfectionist....that seems so untidy to me.  I perfer to layer batting (or foam if I have the correct depth) in the empty space......
....then cover that with fabric.  In this case, woolfelt which is attached by hand stitching in place.  Another label is added to the back and hanging devices are attached as well.
IRON TREE   8" X 8"    © 2013 
Much to my surprise and delight - this piece is already -  SOLD
Woolfelt, hand embroidered, featuring a laser cut metal motif 

I'll be linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Sara's Whoop, Whoop Friday's  Be sure to visit these great blogs on Fridays for inspiration galore.