Monday, December 31, 2012

End of 2012...

Well here it is at last, the end of the year.  It's been a rough one for sure.

Politics the worse we have seen in a long time, but that is the way politics goes.  It's when it is bad that we find out the most about what is going on.  And I feel that is a good thing.

I am so thrilled at the birth of my grand daughter this year.  Also happy that my daughter, having graduated with her PHd, has found a job.  I have my quilting business finally started in earnest, just waiting for all those customers to beat down my door.  I am hoping that I will be turning them away by this time next year..

I have two custom quilts on the books for January, rebuilding my website and shopping cart as we speak, have lots of good stuff to sell, both new fabric on the bolt and vintage items, a wedding quilt to make, a new quilt for my Mom, drapes for daughter, diaper bag for a friend...

I don't think there is any reason to think I won't have anything to do

So whats the number for today? Everyone else thinks it is 2013 but no, it is:


Its been just a few days over the one year mark for my blog.. and even though I have not been very prolific, I am going to hit 10,000 page views by the end of the year..I think..we are only 42 away.

Soooo, when we hit the big number, I will be posting a fat quarter pack give-away to celebrate.

I think it will be a pack of 30s reproductions.  Won't that be fun?

It's snowing here today, and its supposed to get very cold, I think I will have to pass on the New Year's Eve party invitation.  Just dont want to try to drive home in icy conditions at 12:30..

I am knitting a cowl for my daughter, to I think I will stay right here and try to finish it today...

Everyone have a safe and happy new year's eve..and Ill see ya next year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Well the sewing is all done for this year..

Oops, you weren't supposed to see that!

Now, its on to the cooking.. I have been invited to my Son's for Christmas Eve dinner and gift giving.  How did this month go by so fast?  It's tomorrow and my contributions need to be made a day in advance.  Whew, just in time.

So, this is a new dish for me.  I had it at our family reunion this fall in Alabama.  Made by my newly found cousin Sandra, it made a big hit with me.  And with all the red and green vegies, it just looks so festive.  She gave me permission to share the recipe with you, so here it is.  Now I just need a pretty dish to serve it in and Im good to go to the party....

Corn Salad

2-4 cans white corn, drained
2-4 cans Mexicorn, drained
Celery, green onion, white onion, chopped
Green, red, yellow bell peppers chopped
Cucumber chopped
Tomato chopped
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Combine all ingredients in a bowl,
Mix one package dry Zesty Italian Dressing seasoning
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup mayonaise
pepper and garlic salt to taste
Mix dressing and pour over the salad, mix well and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
This is soooo good, but it makes a you could cut it down for serving at home.
I have had it on a bed of lettuce with dinner and it rocks..
It just tastes so Southern..I hope you enjoy trying it.  This one has made it to the family cookbook.
Now where is that pretty bowl? 
I sure hope everyone has a safe and joyful holiday.  Give all your family a hug and remember,
"It's not the gift but the giving"
Peace to you and yours!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Angel Gate Quilt, in progress

Most of the Chirstmas sewing is done..just two more small projects to go..

So I took a little break from that and sat with my pencil and paper to work a little bit on the
Angel Gate quilt. 

The Angel Gate is a commission custom quilt project that I have been working on for a little while now.  It is inspired by a photo of a gate in the shape of an Angel that is mounted in a brick wall at Bismorton Court in the Westershire, United Kingdom.

I have appliqued the gate onto the center of the top..

Then, I took pictures of the bedroom that will be surrounding this quilt as well as flowers in the yard.  I hope to incorporate these things into the finished piece.. These pink flowers are called Colonial Roses.  The look  like paper roses in person and are just beautiful. 

Here is my rough sketch for the border.
Then I opened the image with a paint program and started putting in some color.  I just wanted to see how it would look before I start in with fabric..
Well, it looked pretty good to me, so I colored the whole thing, replicated it, reversd the image, and put the two pieces together.  Now I have a representation of the whole border. It will be an 18 inch drop and run the 78 inch length of the quilt as well as across the width at the foot of the bed.
So, now its on to gathering up fabric to get on with this project.
I sure hope she likes the results of my labor!
Happy creating!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Well, with just one week to go before the family gathering, I am honing in on the end of the sewing for this season.

It's time to think about all the family and hope that they love, or at least like the gifts I have made.

I love making things and but I also know the heartache that comes with giving a hand made gift that you have put your heart and soul into, just to have it cast aside as not good enough or not right.  Many of  my quilting friends have experienced this and so, have had their feelings hurt.

You know, working for days on end to make the perfect quilt, just to find it lining the dogs bed or in the trunk of the car.  The thing is, those who do not make things often do not know the time and expense it takes to create that wonderful gift.  What is one to do?

Well, I have decided that I will make things and when I give them, I must let them go.  Just not worry any more about what happens to the gift.  It is, after all the act of giving that is important.  I am a giver. I love to give.  Now, I know that I love it more when the recipient thinks that it is as special as I do in the making.  And that is a wonderful feeling when it works out perfect on both sides..I love the making and they love the receiving. 
This year of meager funds has forced my hand to give ALL hand made gifts.  Some I know will be happy, others, not so much..

So here is what I aim to do..I will carefully watch as each person opens each gift. I will also see if it is ever seen again and where.  Then, committing that to memory will dictate what I will do in the future gift giving.  Those who do not care for or use their hand made gifts will get something else next time around. Knowing that the funds may be meager again next year, it just might not be much..but at least that little piece of my soul will be reserved for those who love their hand made things.

This is the very hard part of giving so much of yourself instead of shopping..

Well, Ill be back in about a week to share with you my recipe for the Christmas Eve dinner..

Corn Salad..

Made with things red and green, it is perfect for winter holiday meals..

Peace be with you..

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas List...

With very little money to spend on the holidays this year, I have decided to give all handmade gifts..

Here is whats on my list, with only 24 days to get them done..
UPDATE,12/7 :  Well we are down to what, 17 days left.  I have had a bad couple of days and have been out of commision.  What a waste of time being ill is.  Now I have a lot to make up in a much shorter timeframe. Chug, chug, goes the train...
UPDATE, 12/13 : With only a little over a week to go, Im  working down the list, I sure hope I can get it all done in time. Two big projects and one small one left..and I need the 23rd for cooking...Im holding my breath here...

1 qt jar of home made bbq sauce   - Done
1 very large tree skirt for a 9 ft tree - Fabric in hand..time to get started.
two snoman table runners = Done and Done!

a KU Ipad tote bag - Done

a stuffed teddy bear made of minkee - Done 

bedroom drapes, this will have to wait till after the holidays..sorry D.
1 Harley quilt - Done

1 iron tote - Done and delivered..

1st annual christmas ornament for new grand daughter
fruit cakes for about six people, new tradition..dried fruit soaking in Rum..baking on Wed. Sat. boy that fruit has been soakin' in Rum for about a week now..that will be some boozy fruit cake.  Well, maybe it will make up for a shorter soak time after baking..
Done! Six fruitcakes out of the oven..

 and to share at dinner:
1 caramel pie, 1 corn salad, Grocery shopping done, ready for the big day.

and for me:
1 tub of hot buttered rum mix...Done, so yummy, bring on the cold weather!  Had my first cup on Friday evening..oh yeah!


Now all I need is someone to organize my time so that I can actually get it all done in time
Im very excited about these gifts, they are so much better than going shopping in the big crowds
at the local big box stores.

Happy Holidays to all of you.  I am hoping to build out this site in the coming year...
you know, New Year's Resolution and all...

I hope you will come along and I also hope that I can actually accomplish my new goals..

See you around the internet..


Monday, November 26, 2012

Panels and Pantos

As a Long Arm quilter, we learn that we must work on all sorts of projects, from the simple to the complex, adding our part, the quilting, that meets the expectations of the customer based on how much they want to spend and value for their money. One such project is the quilt constructed from pre printed panels. I had a few of these to work on this week and I thought I would share them with you and how I completed my part. First of all, you must know your customers expectations. In this case, a panel was used to create a quick project for family members who she did not know very well. This allowed her to give a hand made gift to each of these new additions to her family. However, not knowing them extremely well, she also did not want to spend the money for custom quilting, opting for pantographs instead. Now, to my job. For each project I considered the design on the panel, the color scheme and how much of the quilting should show vs. fading into the background to hold the quilt together. First up was a very pretty and richly printed wildlife print with deer in the forest. A panto covers evenly the surface of the quilt, so it has the potential to take over instead of adding to or becoming part of the piece. In this case I chose to quilt with a sage green thread, close in color to the background sky behind the deer. I also chose a complex pantograph of various leaves, complementing the subject matter of the panel. Here are the results.
And here is the back, so you can see more of the quilting details.
Next up is a Santa panel.. The panto I used was quilted in a variagated red and gives texture to Santa's beard, even in the red color.
 And finally a Snowman panel...this one I used a swirling panto the reminds me of blowing snow.. I like this one the best..
So with a little change up of thread color and design, these wonderful panels can become interesting while keeping the costs in line.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

McCalls Design Challenge Winners

Hi everyone, what a great day... I wanted to let you all know that I did not win the final round of the McCalls Design Star challenge.

But, I also want to let you all know that I feel like a winner anyway.

I challenged myself in this contest. I never thought I could draw let alone create any realistic looking works. I allowed something inside me to let go and so, I did acheive that goal.

I also wanted to become more comfortable showing my work in a larger setting. It is very hard to let others look at and critique the work that comes from inside your heart. And I have always had a pretty thin skin. So this was a big deal for me.

I never thought I would get past the first entry round, and so, was very pleasantly surprised when I did. I was just as surprised each time I advanced. I made a new friend during this process and that makes me very happy too. Im a winner all the way around.

Now, I also want to say, that I am not a big fan of popularity contests. They do not usually produce good results. And true to form this one, especially in the ameteur category, missed the mark.

Dont get me wrong, all the contestants are skilled and did wonderful work. But due to the process, especially in the Ameteur category, there are much better representations of creativity, quality and design that were not recognized.

I posted this comment on the McCalls website as a desire to see a better process. My comments were moderated and deleted. I find this most disturbing.

I read several comments in the artist comments sections that were personal attacks on the artist, and these comments were allowed to stand. So, I dont get why process improvement comments on the main page were deleted. I suppose, in re-reading it, they may have found my comments to be negative towards the winner, which they are NOT intended to be. But like I said, there were much worse allowed directed specifically to the artists. So, I will have my say here and move on.

Only some of the artists were showcased on the blog page...what's that all about. I thought mine may have been left off due to arriving a day late. But it wasn't just me. So, we will just have to take that in stride and move on. It's not a big deal to me, just an indication of something amiss.  Most likely it is a time management issue, but who knows.

The contest page says there were over 70,000 votes and that some people left mulitple comments for their favorite to try to give the impression of exagerated excitement. This was the statement by the contest, not me.

  But just so the more exceptional artists do not get completely passed over, go have a look at two in the ameteur category that I feel are superior works in creativity, construction and design. I voted for both of them throughout because I could not chose between them.. Go have a look for yourself and let me know what you think..

This one is very deep in meaning and the construction and quilting is superb..

and this one is so touching, read through the comments and you will find more that meets the eye..

And finally, I want to thank all of you who encouraged and supported me throughout this process. I could not have done this without you. You are all the greatest!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Elvis in the Army

I quilted this quilt and just delivered it to my customer on Friday and she gave her permission for me to share it with you.

This fabric came out a few years ago and is now out of print.  The photo blocks were originally a panel and all the fabric in the quilt is coordinating Elvis themed fabric.

My customer was very happy with the results of my work and it is always fun to recieve such positive feedback.

I work for quilters all over the country and even overseas. I do custom sewing, quilt restoration and long arm quilting.  Feel free to contact me at any time for a quote on your sewing needs.


Friday, October 5, 2012

In The News

The local newspaper came to interview me and to take pictures of the quilts I have made for the McCall's  Quilt Design Star 2012 challenge. 

Here is a link to the article:

I am so pleased that the local paper took interest in my efforts.  The young woman who came to visit seemed genuinely interested and happily viewed the quilt entries.

I am not usually happy with my picture, but this time, she did get a nice looking shot. Well, as nice I am capable of looking on film anyways.

It has been a very good experience for me to have entered this challenge.  I am not confident in showing my efforts and my work. I usually share to a narrow group of friends that I know pretty well.  I wanted to push myself a bit and to reach out to a wider audience.  So, this challenge has accomplished, beyond my expectations, both of those goals.

I really did not think I had a large enough network of friends and family to make it very far.  But, they all came to support me by voting and sharing the links.  I was humbled by the support that allowed me to advance to the first challenge.  Then to the second.  And now to the final challenge.

Each time, I was not sure my work was up to the level of competition in my category.  And now, I am very excited and proud to have been able to achieve a reasonable entry into this final round.  I am happy that the support continues to grow and expand.

So, of course, I would love to win this final round. 

But here is the thing:  I am so pleased to have made it this far. Whether my quilt wins the final or not, I truly feel that I am already a winner.  I have more than achieved my goals. I have pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of, I have realized the support of my family, and I have made some very dear new friends along the way.

We are still weeks away from knowing the results, but I would like to say Thank You to all of you who have and are still voting.  I want to say Thank You to those who have left such meaningful comments on the voting page.  I want to say Thank You to all of you who have shared links with your friends and families.  And most of all, I want to say Thank You to those of you who have been there every step of the way with personal support and encouragement.  I could not have done this without you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

I am one of nine finalists in the McCalls Design Star Challenge 2012.

I have just finished my quilt.

This round's instructions were to design, create, quilt and bind a quilt based on the theme "Opposites Attract". This quilt is inspired by a photograph taken of my Grandfather's first meeting with my Daughter when she was one week of age. She is the only Great Grandchild that he ever met. The title of my quilt is "Love of the Ages" and, of course, the opposite is young and old. The attraction between the young and old seems stronger the more years there are between them.

The actual work on this quilt was started on Sept. 10 and finished on Sept 29. I also find it appropriate the my Daughter's birthday fell within that time frame.

The shirt is machine pieced and all the parts are applied to the background by hand applique. The background is hand quilted, the rest is machine quilted.

Voting starts Oct 2 and runs through Oct 21.

You can vote once a day from each computer and smart phone.

Please share the link with your friends.. I would love to win this round for my birthday!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Done..

I finished the challenge quilt with two whole days to are some pictures of the work in progress;

These blocks are actually 8 inch blocks and all work together to make up the entire thing.
You will have to wait untill Tuesday for the finished piece.  Voting starts on the 19th and I will have a button to link you directly to the voting page so come on back for that.  You can vote once a day from each machine or smart phone.

Now, what to do next! 
I have a long list of projects to work on and blog about..

I have some new things I picked up at Quilt Market to tell you about,
I have a set of charm squares from Windham Fabrics to make a project from, then blog about
I have some new materials for making purses and tote bags.. thats going to be a lot of fun.

So, please come back to see where we go first.  I am in that end of a project slump where it is hard to get started on the next project.  Im waiting for the bug to hit me..

Meanwhile, my finances are taking a small turn for the better.  That means that hopefully I can plan a trip this summer to meet up with some of my online friends and do a little family research in the Indianapolis and Henry County, Iowa areas.

Also, in November I am once again going to Alabama to meet up with long lost and new found cousins from my Mom's side of the family.  I hope to write a little bit about that soon. 

I have just recently come in contact with a new found cousin in a completely different line and I am hoping to nuture that relationship too.  What a great thing the internet has been for finding these extended family members.

Well, Im off to clean my house a bit.. as it has not been touched in the two weeks that I have been slaving away on the McCalls Design challenge project.  I need to do laundry, Im down to my last pair of clean undies, so that is the highest of priorities..

Take care all of my online friends and come on back for some new stuff to read about and look at..

Friday, June 8, 2012

Time is moving fast!

Time is moving fast!

With only nine more days to finish my next entry in the McCalls Design Star Challenge, it seems like I will never get all this done on time!

Just trimmings from the top so far

The challenge block for this round is the Storm at Sea block.  I have to say that it is indeed challenging me.

I loved designing this quilt and I am anxious to share the completed top with everyone, but I have to say this really is pushing me to the edge of my skill sets.  Im trying so many new techniques in this challenge.  And 
this sewing marathon has convinced me that I need a chair with more padding at my sewing machine.

Today, McCalls posted my bio on thier blog page.. You can read it here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quilt Market

Hi everyone. Here's whats been happening in my world lately..

I worked at the Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City for the past five days. One of those days I was able to take some time off and attend maket as a shopper for my online store. I met some wonderful new friends, ran into and visited with some old friends, made some new contacts for merchandising my store and found some exciting new products. I will be blogging about these contacts and products over the next few weeks, so come back often to see what I found.

Here are some of the contacts and product lines that I will be talking about:
Pelon Legacy Batting, I will be thoroughly testing these products on my long arm, then washing to test for shrinkage
Windham fabrics, Bella line, I was given a charm pack of this line to make something and blog about it
Art Gallery Fabric, My favorite new fabric company
Liberty Art Fabric, This is so exciting, Liberty is launching a quilt quality fabric line in the US in a competitive price point
Aurifil Thread, They gave me some samples to test on my long arm
Precenthia Thread, They also gave me some samples to test and are sending me some metalic samples for testing, can't wait
Shannon Cuddle Fabric, and I was so excited about this line and the projects they have come up with.
Coats and Clark, History of this thread company
Lots of purse and tote patterns, once I make one, and blog about it, the pattern will be available for purchase on my online store, but only if it passes my construction test..
and more... 
Here is a picture of my "haul" from Quilt Market..

Now as for the McCalls Design Star 2012, the voting for round one is over and I MADE IT INTO THE NEXT ROUND. Thank you to everyone who supported me with your votes. No matter what the outcome, I appreciate each and every one of you!

Friday, April 27, 2012

What's new?

I'm in one of those in between times.. in between finishing a project and starting another one. Here is the project that I just finished. I was given a set of nine tshirts commemorating the Roosevelt Project at Arizona State University. I worked with the owner on color and design elements and created this quilt for her.. then, I quilted it, bound it, added a label and a hanging sleeve. Now it is in the care of the United States Postal Service. It should be delivered to her tomorrow according to their tracking site.

I finishsed and gave the baby quilts to my Daughter in Law at the Baby Shower!

And I entered the McCalls Design Star 2012 contest with a quilt I made some time ago...
I hope you will all vote for me.. Ill post the link when voting starts on May 1

Also, I met a new blogger and added her to my blog list.. be sure and check out her blog at

So, whats next?  I am working on a quilt restoration for a client.  Ill post more about that later, but the biggest issue is finding matching fabric to replace the bad parts.  I did locate some vintage fabric, but, the quilt has faded over the years and so, doesn't match.. I am off to prepare a pot of dye lighten it up a bit.. and since I only have a small piece, I am holding my breath that I get it right...

Wish me luck..

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I quilt for our local Quilts of Valor group in Kansas City.  Yesterday I was so honored and pleased to be invited to help with a presentation of almost 600 quilts to the 4-4 Cavalry Squadron at Ft. Riley, Kansas.

The Squadron was 600 strong when they left over a year ago for a tour of duty in Afghanastan.  It was an especially hard tour with 143 wounded and receiving the Purple Heart and another 8 that perished.

Our regional Quilts of Valor leader headed up the effort to collect enough quilts to give every single soldier in the Squadron a quilt to welcome them home.

We came from Wichita area and Kansas City area to meet in Junction City.  We were escorted to Ft. Riley by the local police and the American Legion Riders.  The 600 quilts filled a large moving van.

What an honor to meet the young men and women who are putting themselves in harms way for us!
I can only hope that they remember this day and how much we care.

Each soldier was given the opportunity to choose their own quilt, then one of the quilters added their name to the quilt using permanent ink pens adding a personal touch to the presentation.

The following link reported by Lindsey Rogers from WIBW:

"These men and women did incredible. They faced a tough, entrenched Taliban enemy that had been there for many years. The Taliban there fought in places their fathers and grandfathers fought in against the Soviets in the 1980s," said 4-4 Cav's Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Katona.

More pictures taken by Sgt Huggins at the event and posted on the 1st Div facebook page!/media/set/?set=a.385183334846217.94817.129814630383090&type=1

And more pictures taken by retired medic Mindy King: