Thursday, December 31, 2009

A look back at 2009

WOW….remember when it was 1999 and we were all worried about Y2K??  Can you believe that it was  TEN years ago??

At the end of last year, I photographed 18 projects that I considered unfinished and set a goal to complete a few of them in the new year.  I actually managed to do that, finishing up two small ones as gifts, two queen size quilts, and one lap size  that turned into a charity quilt for my guild.  I also got the Christmas lap quilt from the previous post a WHOLE lot closer to being finished.

During the year I participated in the British Quilt List calendar challenge and finished all twelve quilts before the clock stuck midnight on December 31st!!  I also participated in our guild  Polka Dot challenge and their show challenge .

I worked on four different charity quilts….. one given to a local Cancer treatment center, and 4 given to local Relay for Life programs.

I had the opportunity to sell my first quilt which was quite a thrill and also got to teach in a LOT of new venues (some of which have invited me back in 2010).

I completed my first whole cloth quilt and fell further in love with machine quilting.  I tried something totally new with two quilts based on stairs photographed in Porto, Portugal.  I played some with painting on fabrics and even did a bit of hand embroidery.

I finished a quilt that was a collaboration between my Mother and myself and we have seen it displayed in 3 different shows.  I am considering sending in the Paducah application on Monday and see if I can get it there as well.

I gave myself permission to put the needle felting machine  away and NOT feel guilty that I really dont like using it. 

I cut ALL of my scraps into usable sizes and have already made a wallhanging, a lap quilt and a queen size quilt from that stash.    In addition, I have USED much more fabric than I have BOUGHT this year!!

Finally, I have not left any projects unfinished.  I dont consider the “People on a Train” quilt to be unfinished yet… is simply set aside for a short time.

All in all, it has been a wonderful year, both on a personal level and also in my quilting life, so…….……



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

UFO Finished….well, almost

Today I worked on a project that has been in my UFO bin for about FIFTEEN years!!!  

It started out as a full size Christmas quilt for my bed.  It was in the days where I hadn’t done a lot of machine quilting and had never tried quilting anything as large as this one, so I decided to hand quilt it…..GULP!!   I used a “quilt-as-you-go”  technique where you put sets of blocks together, baste and quilt them and then put all of the sets together to form the final quilt.

I had made the first two strips, each consisting of three blocks.  Life then got in the way,  and I lost interest in the project.  It was relegated to the top shelf of my bedroom closet….in my mind, it didn’t even qualify for placement in my studio.  I had even thought several times about throwing it away.

Last year, I made a list of my UFO’s and suddenly remembered this one so I added it to the list.  This was how it looked at that time……

PC030354As I looked at it, I decided to turn it into a lap quilt of three rows of 2 blocks each.   I have thought about this project over the last few days and kept trying to come up with a grand plan for doing this, but finally decided to just START the project and let it take me where it would. 

It has taken several “finagles” to make the design work, but I am pleased with the overall results.  There is still some quilting to be done on it (by machine) and a bit of hand quilting to be taken out, but that can happen later when I am looking for a quick project to fill a few hours.

_C293775 (2)Technically, it is not a wonderful quilt, but I am REALLY looking forward to pulling it out next December and wrapping up in it!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Keeping Amber Warm

This year it was a rush to finish a queen size quilt to be given to my Son’s girlfriend….Amber.  It was VERY exciting that they announced their engagement  just a few hours before she opened the gift!!!!




Here she is opening the bag…..can you see her behind all of the paper???






Her first words were….”OHH it’s teal!!”





Here is the finished quilt……


I had intended to do a lot of fancy quilting on this, but ran out of time and ended up just quilting it with lots of straight lines (using the walking foot).    In the end, I kind of like this simplicity!!

If you remember several months ago, I posted about the backing to this quilt.  I originally tried using 10 inch squares of miscellaneous fabrics, but it really looked BAD!!!  So, I decided to dig thru scraps and other fabrics and re-make the back.  One of my friends saw this side first and thought that it was the actual quilt… is kind of fun!!!


The binding used scrap strips that I had cut earlier this year, so I managed to make the entire quilt WITHOUT having to buy any fabrics!!!!!

It was fun to think about Amber while I was making this quilt and I am thrilled that she was excited to receive it!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Post Christmas

Well it is 8:30 on Christmas evening and here I sit reflecting on a glorious two days of fun.  Come and reminisce with me…..


Christmas Eve began with an announcement that our son Brian was ENGAGED to lovely Amber!!!!

We are SO excited for them!!!!







Our first full family photo!!!!





Santa Kida



Christmas always begins with the “Kids in the Santa Hat”  photos



Santa Marley


“Santa Marley” got into the act as well








Hubby, Michael, with one of the MANY books that he received….we are honestly going to have to  build more bookshelves!!






Me, holding up a piece of stained glass art that will go in the window in front of my sewing machine….great inspiration!!






Son, Brian, enjoys the day.




J likes Stockings


   Daughter, Jenny, LOVES what Santa left  in her stocking





Now that the day is over, I am ready to get the decorating down and try to find some sewing time between now and January 4th.  At that point, the sewing will have to take a back seat to Income Tax Time!!!!

I hope that your day was merry and bright and filled with fun!!!!



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I wish all of you much joy on this day of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bedtime Bears on Christmas Eve

This post is about a quilt that I made in 1992 for my daughter, Jenny. She was never into Dolls, but she LOVED her Teddy Bears, so I decided to make her this quilt for Christmas.

I found wonderful patterns, many that reminded me of Jenny’s pursuits.P4211166Then there was one pattern called “Lonesome Bear” and I felt that he couldn’t be on the front with all of the other bears, so I decided to piece the back and include poor little lonesome bear. The idea behind the back was that he walked all around the edge of the quilt and then curled up in the window and fell asleep….

P4211171 This quilt has been much loved over the years and has survived thru two disasters….the first being a black pen breaking on top of it (note the black spots) and the second being a can of pink hair spray leaking on the front. Jenny was horrified when these things happened, but I think that they just give the quilt more character!!!

As with many of us, I had planned too much for the holiday season and was running low on time to get it finished. The reason I remember this quilt at Christmas was because of a poem that I wrote to read when I showed the quilt at my guild Christmas Party……

Twas the night before Christmas and all thru the house, not a creature was stirring….except for Mama Mouse.

The stockings were appliqued, quilted and hung with care, in anticipation of the goodies that would soon be there.

The presents were wrapped before Turkey day and now law under the tree in much disarray.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of “Baby Crimp and Curl” and “Super Mario” danced in their heads.

Many hours ago, Dad had gone to bed, while Mama went searching for needle and thread.

And now she sat sewing binding on the sides of a quilt made for Jenny who was then only five.

The idea was born in September with much love and care and……”Yes Dot, your right. It must have a bear”

Or two or three or maybe eight plus five or whatever it takes to make the quilt alive.

That special brown print was bought from Melissa’s store and Dot and Dale sent bear patterns galore.

The patterns were enlarged to make the size just right and that polar bear block wouldn’t go together without a fight.

The Ballerina must have a Tu-Tu of net. Now the blocks are together, the top is finished and yet….

It still needs a border to set it off right. What about Bear’s Paws… I sew with all of my might.

The back of quilt must be special too. It needs a lonesome bear and more Bear’s Paws…at least a few.

But now it’s Christmas Eve and time is a slippin. Oh not another mistake…I dont have time for more rippin.

At last now it’s finished, the final stitch has been taken. Once it is all wrapped up, then the kids I can waken.

And so I exclaimed as I wrapped the present tight. “Merry Christmas my Jenny and may it keep you warm many nights.

I hope that you have finished all of your Christmas projects and that you can dream tonight of the many new quilts to come!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A New Celebration


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         In the midst of all of the planning and hurrying toward Christmas, we got to celebrate our daughter Jenny’s graduation from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in Education (Exercise and Sport Science).    It was a wonderful ceremony, with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates talking to the graduates about the importance of service….of the need to look for what you can DO rather than what can be done FOR you.  I think this is a great sentiment in today’s environment!!!!

We are very proud of both of our children and their accomplishments in this world and look forward to seeing their futures unfold.


Oh, and one more thing……anyone got a job that needs filling?????

Thursday, December 17, 2009



Today I celebrate the first anniversary of my blog writing!!!!

When I started, I was uncertain that I would enjoy blogging, uncertain that it wouldn’t just take up more and more of my time, and uncertain that ANYone would want to read it. Well, all three of those worries were unfounded!!!

I love writing about what I am doing and I have found that the blogging process has helped to focus my quilting energies. I am always thinking about the next project and how I can blog about it. I have also enjoyed the documentation process that goes along with blogging, and have found it to be really helpful to write what you do and why.

Secondly, although it does take time to keep up with, it has been worth every minute spent and, after the honeymoon period passed, I haven’t been glued to my computer night and day.

Finally, the biggest enjoyment of blogging has been the people that I have met along the way…..from the comment written in French that I had to translate, to the “friend of a friend in Australia” comment on the last post. I have connected with known quilters as well as previously unknown ones. I have “met” people who spin with drop spindles, knit until their arms ache, learn to speak Greek just for the heck of it, cook some amazing dishes and, most importantly, keep the art of quilting alive and well in this world. I have given a gift to a total stranger and received one as well. I have been encouraged, complimented, educated and loved by all of you and I thank you!!!!

So, please raise your glasses…..

”To all of the wonderful blogging quilters of the world…..HERE’S TO YOU!!!!!”

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beaded Decorations……


My friend, Marilyn, who now lives in Brisbane, Australia started making beaded ornaments several years ago, and she has sent us a wonderful array of decorations.  Here are a couple for you to enjoy…….

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I met Marilyn while we were living in Canberra, Australia and we spent many hours together working on various projects at our church.  At the time I was leading a craft group at the church and her husband credits me…..or should I say accuses me……of being the start of Marilyn’s many craft efforts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who is “J”???

Just before our second child was born, I decided to make some ornaments that had all of our initials on them.  I had done the “F” for Frances, “M” for Michael (hubby), and the “B” for Brian (son).  I was working on the “J” while we were visiting with some friends and she asked how I could do the last initial before I knew if baby number 2 was a boy or girl.  My answer was easy…..James if it was a boy and Jenny if a girl

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By the way… was a girl!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Christmas Decorations


Early in 1981, we moved to Canberra, Australia so my husband could do a PhD at the Australian National University.  When I thought about the 20+ hours that we would be in transit, I knew that I needed something to work on, so I bought a packet of 6 embroidered ornaments to take with me.  I distinctly remember working on one of them during the trip and then finished them in the first few months that we lived there.

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When I first made these and hung them on the door knobs, the frames would break apart and fall into three parts on the floor.  After several years of this, I finally got out the glue gun and secured the frames.  Now we enjoy them every year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Decorations…..Texas Style

I have spent most of this week in Abilene, Texas, attending the funeral for my Mother’s Husband and trying to help her get settled down again.    One of the perks to this trip was that I was reminded about the wonderful way in which Texan’s decorate for Christmas. 

These photos are not the greatest ones… is hard to photograph at night and some were take  on my cell phone……but here are a few to brighten your days…….

I love these “mushroom” trees…….Photo_120809_002 (2)

And these wrapped tree trunks…….

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And this one went all the way……

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And here is what happens when you start playing around with the camera…….

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These displays make my little trees out front look kind of puny, but I still get a thrill when 5:00 pm rolls around and they click on!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quilted Stockings

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I made these stockings in 1987, just after our daughter Jenny was born.  We were living in Australia at the time, but were returning to the US before Christmas.    I hand appliqued each of them and had to work quickly to make sure that they were finished before the crate was packed and shipped back to Texas.  It was such fun to find them the following year when decorating time came.

The only problem with these is that they dont hold much loot!!!  Note to self…..make Christmas Stockings REALLY BIG!!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Ornament #6

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This ornament was made by my friend, Sandra S.  She did a wonderful job of piecing the miniature quilt block and then beautifully finished it with  a hand-made tassel. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Ornament #5

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This ornament was one of a series that I made in 1988.  I would love to try these again someday.  The only thing that I would do differently would be to use some form of stabilizer that could either be dissolved or heated away.  That way there wouldn’t be the little threads along the edge.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Star over Bethlehem

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This quilt was made in 1985 and was my first foray into the world of machine piecing.  The pattern came from a magazine, but the top part of the star was not part of the original design.  I hadn’t done a lot of quilting at this point and was NOT at all confident that I could make the needed changes to the pattern.    I knew that if I pieced it by hand, it would take a week to do and then I still might not be able to do it.   SO, without really know what I was doing, I set out to piece it one the machine. 

I did EVERYTHING wrong in this process….at least based on what I know now.  I prepared the templates out of cardboard, and then drew them onto the fabric.  I cut out each patch, adding  the quarter inch seam allowance.  I matched the corners and lines and then sewed along the line.  

But, the upside was that it only took a couple of hours to piece and I was able to make the changes easily. 

It is fun to look at this piece and remember how much I worried about making such a simple change.  I have come a long way in the past 24 years and hope that, in 24 more years,  I will look back at today’s quilts and think about how much more I have progressed since then.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Ornament #4

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This ornament was another one that I received in a ornament swap in my quilt group.  It was made by Shirley E. and always makes me smile when I look at it!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bali-Pop, Bali-Pop, Oh-lali Bali-Pop!!!


Today I was able to finish up the second of projects for the week…..this time a lap quilt for a wedding present.  As I mentioned when I showed the beginning of this quilt, it was made from two sets of Bali-Pops. 

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It is a very simple design using the 2-1/2 inch strips found in the Bali pops.  Although I was really excited about these batiks when I purchased them, I found that making a quilt completely of batiks is kind of boring.   Having said that, I am pleased with the final results and hope that it will be a blessing to this young couple.

Today I worked on the third of my projects, but it wont be finished for a couple of weeks.  I found out this morning that I am going to have to make a trip to Texas to attend a funeral so will be out of the quilting loop for most of next week.   Right now I am desperately trying to think of something to take to work on….at times like this I wish that I did more handwork!!!!


Now onto the decoration of the day…….

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When I was six years old, I began taking piano lessons from the High School girl who lived next door to me.  
I was the first student that she had ever taught and Susan proved to be  a wonderful teacher.  She gave this  little book as a Christmas present the first year that I was with her.    It is called “Miss Flora McFlimsey’s Christmas Eve” and was one of Susan’s favorite Christmas books.  I have enjoyed it over the years and, as with many of these decorations, I think of her when I set it out.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First one finished

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I have now finished the first of the projects that were on my list for the week.  This is the November offering for the British Quilt List calendar challenge.  I didn’t finish the October challenge in time to get the instructions, so I had to guess about the technique.  Because I was in a hurry, I opted to simply use Wonder-Under to fuse the circles and then to use machine embroidery stitches around the edges.  


Now onto the ornament of the day……

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I won this ornament in an exchange that our guild had a lot of years ago.  It was made by an older woman named Kathryn Hancock and it is very special to me.  A few years before she passed away, she bought a UFO of mine at a garage sale.  When I asked her WHY in the world she wanted it, she explained that this way she would have something that I made!!


That comment has always stuck with me and seeing this ornament each year gives me a warm and wonderful feeling.  

…..Thank you Kathryn and I miss you!!!!…….

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On To the Next Holiday

I haven't done much sewing this past week as we had company for a week and have also spent a lot of time decorating the house for Christmas. BUT, all of the decorations are up and I have three free days so am hoping to get a LOT done. Hopefully, you will be seeing new and completed projects in the next week.

I also decided to show a few of my favorite holiday ornaments. This is one of the first ornaments that I ever was stuck to the top of a box of chocolates that my Dad bought for me when I was a little girl. When I was still at home, it always nestled at the top of our tree and the tradition has continued to today.

Lots to come in the next few days (I hope).......

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I want to wish each of my fellow bloggers and followers a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

To those of you in other countries, please join us in being thankful for the wonderful gifts that we receive daily.

AND, thank you for your support and encouragement!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Art Every Day

One of the blogs that I follow, And Sew It Goes,  has joined one of the “Art Every Day” groups which encourages you to create something every day in the month of November and then blog about it.

This idea has fallen into  a crack that had been forming in  my brain and seems to have lodged there.  Over the last few months, I have been thinking about my need to branch out and try a lot of different types of art other than fiber.  As a result of these thoughts, I bought a spiral drawing book, a small selection of pens, drawing pencils and watercolor pencils (all on a clearance table at Walmart).

I did a few drawings about a month ago, but reading Terry’s blog convinced me to try to add something to the notebook on most days.  I dont consider myself to be an artist in the classic sense and have found this a bit hard to do.

The first examples were inspired by  Zentangle doodle art.  (I love the quote on their website….”You can do anything…one stroke at a time”).  The thing that I really like about this system was that you worked on a small scale  (3-1/2 inch squares or circles).  Here are some of the first doodles that I did…..9 1


8    3

I didn’t pick it up again until this past weekend and I started with a doodle on a larger scale.  In the green one, I dont like the border, but had started with it and didn’t want to get rid of it.   I am pleased with the red one which is made up entirely of the same basic shape….a simple leaf……


I also tried a pencil drawing of a funky vase in our living room.  Once again, it isn’t great, but I am glad that I tried it…….


Finally, today I pulled out the pastels that I have owned  for over 2o years and had fun with a quick design.  It was fun to do and I like the colors…..


Anyway, I hope that I can continue just by drawing at least one line in it each day.  I’ll keep you posted on the results….it is always good to have someone checking up on you!!!

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