February Finishes and Lessons Learned

February.  The shortest month of the year.  Some years it feels like an eternity before it will end with all the cold and snow.  This year however…hikes, and walks and 70 degree days.  Whodathunk!

So time in the sewing room was a little shorter but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t productive.  First of all I finished a trio of pillows.  This is actually the second trio I’ve done over the last year, and I can see doing these again sometime, for no other reason than they please me.


The two pillows on the ends are created using a total of four pineapple blocks each.  The blocks are merely oriented differently.  Blocks are constructed of neckties on a muslin foundation.  Each of these pillows contain 148 pieces.  That lovely pillow in the center,  also was assembled using muslin foundations.  These foundations were hand stamped.  I completed 25 blocks for this pillow, each block measures 3 inches and contains 33 pieces for a whopping total of 825 pieces.  The white in the pillow is from an old wedding gown.

The pillows were finished using an envelope style with hook & loop (Velcro) at the closure.


My big finish this month with a huge lesson was the wall hanging.  It is a stunner!


Instead of muslin, this one piece was done utilizing paper foundations.  The pattern is called Scrap Happy Diamonds by Cindi Edgerton.  The quilt measures 58″ square.  I thoroughly enjoyed piecing those diamonds.  I put my first quarter together.


and that is when I noticed a problem, a really big problem…


these units should not have any red.  They need to be all blue.  Well, I cussed and fussed and then just walked away.  I had purchased two of the patterns, but wanted to use one for a completely different project.  I was too far into this one to let it go so I did pinch the foundations I needed from that second pattern to finish it out and will eventually finish a second.


The instructions really were in there…I had completely overlooked them.





The most difficult part of this was pulling out the paper foundations without damaging the ties.  I’m wondering if there really is a need for those foundations to be torn out and what if any problems they would cause for a quilter.  I don’t see where the piece would ever be traditionally laundered, and would welcome feedback if anyone has experience with this.

Those red and blue borders and backing are from abandoned prom and bridesmaids dresses.  Who said they would never get used again!

Recycling at its finest.

Looking forward to March and maybe something a little less daunting.



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Orphan blocks and January finishes

One of the things I love about going to guild is the different ways they approach fundraising.  I’ve been to a couple of groups over the years that do an auction.  “One mans trash is another mans treasure” is the mantra, and oh it is soooo true. Over the years you see what the ladies bring to Show & Tell and watch with awe how they articulate their color sense, their vision and their design skills.

Auctions can be an economical way to build up your own stash, or purge for a good cause if that is the case.  At one of these auctions I bid on a set of quilt blocks.  Did I want the blocks?  Not necessarily, but a $5 bid would get things moving.  Did anyone else want the blocks?  Apparently not, as I won the bid.

These blocks stayed in my stash for a couple of years until I finally figured out what I would do with them.  I didn’t necessarily want am entire quilt just for the holidays, but then it came to me!

When my husband and I travel with Grand Circle Travel or Overseas Adventure travel we bring a gift for the hostess of our home hosted dinner.  I’ve agonized over what to bring in the past, but this last trip was an easy fix.  If your having a meal generally you sit at a table, what easier gift is there to assemble than a table runner?!  The one that I created for our trip has been delivered, but I did finish these two for January using those very blocks that I won at the auction.


This was my first attempt in many years to quilt my own work.  It is a little simple, but I got the job done, and it looks pretty good.

Another place to adopt orphan squares is a block exchange.  Once in a while there might be a couple of blocks where the sizing is off or the colors don’t quite go with its mates.  These are perfect for table runners.  That being said, I think I will continue participating in those block exchanges.

The place that I find hardest to leave the orphans behind are antique stores.  These treasures are just begging for a home.  Last time I brought these home.  It is almost time for me to create something lovely out of them.  But there are issues to consider.  More on that in a later post.



My finishes for January are my two table runners.  It isn’t all I worked on, but it is what I finished.

Fabric that left the sewing room in January in projects and donations to the upcoming Hospitality Guild Auction totaled 10 yards.

Fabric that came into the sewing room 5 yards of Kona White, and I have a specific plan for that!

What do you do with your orphans?

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And We’re Off! Welcome 2017

Do you love lists?  I love lists.  Every year I make a new one.  Or two.  Or several.  This year is no different.  What an ambitious set of lists I have!  According to my lists I’m going to make some lovely things for my home, finish some beautiful gifts for my family, add the finishing details to projects that have been long neglected, and make a dozen pieces to donate to local causes.  Ahhh that New Year hope, isn’t it grand!

One of my promises to self is to keep track of what I use and not replace it all.  I have a very generous stash and I find that once in a while it is difficult to focus with too many choices.  Also, I’m getting to an age where I may have STABLE (stash beyond my life expectancy), and that is not good.  I see a dumpster moving in before my body is cold.  So for every 5 yards I use up, I can buy 1.  Let’s see if that works!  Not certain how that is going to work for the shirts and jeans and ties.

Having recently moved, I’m also trying to find my “Quilt Tribe”.  One would think that this is a no-brainer, but it can be challenging, especially if you are a little shy.  I will find them though and this year will be a very productive year making beautiful things.

I’ll show my progress as I progress.  Sew what are your plans?



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Denim has intrigued me for a long time.  I’ve collected jeans for many years with the thought that “someday I will make something with these”.  On a trip to the big Houston Quilt Festival several years ago, I took a “denimology” class taught by Flavin Glover.  The class was superb and Ms. Glover was creative, informative, and a delightful instructor.

By the way, if the opportunity arises to go the Quilt Festival in Houston, take it.  My sister and I had a blast!  So much inspiration.  Awesome teachers, and classes, and the VENDORS!!!!   I yi yi!  But alas, I do digress.

As retreat coordinator this year I chose a subject dear to my heart.  Retreat was about the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) and 5 Hands (hand made, second hand, hand me down, hand in hand & helping hand ) .  All of the samples and projects offered were made using materials that had a previous purpose.

Denim played a big part in the retreat.  One of the pieces was a quilt I made using denim, and upholstery samples and a free quilt pattern from Benartex called Denovo.  PDF can be found here:  3dudesquilting.com.  The pattern was not followed to the letter, it was more inspirational.  The orientation of the blocks was a little tricky because most of the upholstery samples were directional – hence “not followed to the letter”.img_3946

A few words of advice when using denim.  First of all, change your needle.  Use a denim needle or size 16.  Using 100% cotton denim is easier than using denim that has spandex.  I found I needed to stabilize my black because of that.  It was worth it though because I really wanted the color.  Use similar weight fabrics if you are going to mix denim.  A wonderful match is upholstery fabrics.  I scored a sample book at a flea market and love the results.  Sometimes you can find sample books at thrift stores, or even E-Bay.  One of the things that was brought to my attention at class was if you have a really nice machine, you may NOT want to use it if you are going to do much denim work.  Some of these designer machines come with a big price tag, as do the repairs, and they were not designed to work on these dense thick fabrics for long periods of time.  Because it is my intent to do a fair amount of denim work, I purchased an inexpensive Singer that specifically indicated that it could handle denim.  It worked like a dream.  Often you can find these machines second-hand and in running condition.

Before sending your denim piece out for quilting, make certain that your quilter realizes that you are sending a denim quilt.  They too will have to use a bigger needle, and may suggest a thicker thread.  Terry Burris Quilting made this beauty shine with a lovely allover pattern.


Isn’t this just perfect to have in the back of the car “just in case”, or as a picnic quilt.  This quilt will take a beating, so it’s good to throw on the floor for babies, or to make cozy on the couch.  Because there is not a lot invested, they would also make wonderful charity quilts.

There is no doubt that this quilt will last a long time.  My denim adventure has just begun and I can’t wait to share with you where it takes me.

Happy piecing!


Posted in Denim, Quilting, recycling, Retreat, simple, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Necessity is the mother of invention


I’ve been unpacking.  And unpacking, and unpacking some more.  Everything old is new again.  Being so open, my new sewing studio was an easy spot to just drop and stack boxes…and that we did.

That being said, my sewing room isn’t totally set up so I’ve been working on my handwork (read bindings).  There were some pieces that had been quilted for years that only needed a little attention.  So, I focused on what I wanted to use for the guest room.  I found this lovely little piece that I had made as a class sample about 15 years ago.  Making an Eye Spy quilt was fun, but working with larger hexis was equally fun and fussy cutting my florals for the setting triangles was easy.

This sweet quilt was so much fun that I wanted it to be bigger than originally planned.  Well, I mean to tell you that lovely pale teal-blue was a big hit and there was none to be found.  The darker blue is  a lovely complement and makes it look as if that was the plan all along.  Terry Burris Quilting always makes my work shine and this is no exception.  She quilted a little posie in each and every hexi.  Sweet right!

I love the way it works in so nicely with the colorwash wall hanging and the floral Brave New World quilt from a few years back.

Happy piecing!


Posted in Accomplishments, Hexis, Impressionist, Moving, Scraps, Terry Burris Quilting, UFO's, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tinsel Tuesdays: DIY a Recycled Tie Wreath for Christmas (or year-round)

These are fabulous! Beautiful presentation and an easy to follow tutorial.  Please visit Sharons blog, CraftsnCoffee and check out her wonderful projects.  Many use recycled materials.


Crafts 'n Coffee

I have lots of photos today because I am showing off two dazzling and elegant Recycled Tie Wreaths made by Kathleen George. Kathleen’s first wreath is in rich shades of reds, perfect for Christmas. She shares a second Recycled Tie Wreath in more subdued, year-round hues of blue. Kathleen scouted second-hand stores for her stash of silk ties, which is a beautiful way to build a collection of precious silk fabric. If you’re looking for a special, handmade gift idea, a Recycled Tie Wreath is the answer!

Gorgeous! Tutorial on CraftsnCoffee.com.

Beautiful Recycled Tie Wreath for Christmas or year-round. CraftsnCoffee.com. These Recycled Tie Wreaths are easy enough that you can make them for a special, handmade gift.

Recycle men's ties to make this dazzling wreath. CraftsnCoffee.com. Choose your color palette for the season.

To make a Recycled Tie Wreath with Fabric Roses, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 12” wreath (Kathleen used a wreath with a curved front and flat back)
  • Neckties, 6 – 8 in coordinating colors and patterns
  • Fusible…

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Haberdashery – Part Two

Although the Haberdashery wall hanging did not have the contrast I had hoped for, it was still an attractive piece.  And I had lots and lots of tie scrap to use up.

One of the points of this body of work is to use as much of the material as possible in the projects.  So with so much left over I continued with a “series”.

The log cabin table topper is truly a masculine piece.  Simple and handsome, this would look lovely on a dresser or table.  Log cabin blocks are pieced on a 3 1/2″finished foundation.

No room installation is complete without complimentary  pillows.  And aren’t these lovely?!


The circles are done exactly like the wall hanging except smaller.  I did decide though to use yo-yo’s in the centers for a more interesting visual texture.  Cute yes!

The second pillow is made with tiny little log cabin blocks, about half the size of the blocks used for the table topper.  They are delightful, but don’t sneeze when you’re sewing or you are bound to loose one




Like most of my quilting creations, they just don’t shine as bright until they are quilted.  Terry Burris Quilting did a fabulous job to make these shine beyond my expectations.

Posted in Pillows, Quilting, recycling, Retreat, Terry Burris Quilting, Ties, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments