Monday, October 14, 2019

Three IronEZ Winners & A Whole Lotta Design Wall!

It’s time!

Let’s draw our three winners for the IronEZ spray bottle holders and get these off to our 3 lucky winners!

I’ve got one on my ironing board.  I’ve got one on my cabinet next to my machine-side pressing table -

And yesterday, I FINALLY recovered a big board ironing board, and clamped it there during the great flannel-pressing-design-wall-covering event of 2019!

Check this out:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Duct Tape Queen! *Singing*

This is me in design wall land.

There are many reasons for covering every available wall space in the Quilting Quarters at Quiltville Inn with design wall boards, (Foam insulation board covered with flannel.) and the top 12 reasons are the 12 quilters the Quilting Quarters will hold! 

I can’t wait to see these walls covered with blocks and parts – dreams and possibilities.  BRING ON THE COLOR.  It’s far too “beige” in here as it is!

I have used foam insulation boards for design walls at my own home studio in Wallburg, NC.  Those I covered with grey fleece, and they wouldn’t hold anything of weight as the blocks got bigger and heavier with seams, so I am opting for flannel this time.

Some folks said they used staples in their own design wall experience to hold the fabric to the foam board, but I’m STICKING (see that pun there…punny! haha!) with duct tape. There are many reasons for this, but the duct tape lets me unstick and readjust until I’m certain things are a taut as I want them to be. I don’t enjoy picking out staples.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Never to Old to Learn New Things!

Photos from my new Canon SX70 HS

Take pictures of EVERYTHING.  It’s not usually the first photo that turns out.

I took this photo while we were taking Sadie on an afternoon road hike – the steep drive down from the cabin, to the road and down a bit, and then all the way back up to the top.

Believe me, it’s much easier going down than up! 

The little house below our property proved to be a great photo op – the colorful laundry on the line, the shadows on the grass…The American flag on the shed porch.

Blue Ridge Mountains.  Appalachia.

Come on mom, you are lagging behind!

I know!  But zooming in on mossy rocks is so interesting!

And this drive is so steep!

And we still have to climb all the way – UP THERE!?

I think I’ll sit right down on the drive and catch my breath.
Click to Play:

I tried the video feature on the new SX70 just to see how it would work and how long it would take for it to wifi connect and transfer to my phone.  It was really pretty seamless actually, and I was able to post it to Instagram right away.

I’m afraid you are going to get a lot more test photos over the next while.

One of the hints I got, not even knowing all the settings, is to at least know where the SPORT setting is to catch action burst shots.  That’s how I was able to get Sadie’s wagging tail at a stand still in the photo above.

This however is cell phone.

At about 12 miles an hour.

I had Emmy Lou in the cat carrier in the passenger seat next to me so she could see me and I could reach my fingers in through the grate to comfort her.

THIS is an Appalachian Traffic Jam of amazing proportions  It usually doesn’t happen line this.  I had to call the vet to tell them why I was running late. The conversation went something like this: “Hi, this is Bonnie Hunter, I’m running a bit late as I am following a long line of vehicles at 12 miles an hour.  There is tractor of some sort heading up our slow moving parade, and in the mix in front of me are also a school bus and a dump truck full of gravel.  I’ll be there when I get there.”

The response was “Oh wow, that’s a trifecta of un-passability. Drive safely!”  LOL!

I showed her the photo when I finally got there. We had a good laugh.  These roads are steep, winding and narrow and there is nowhere to pass or pull over.  The tractor thing at the front finally turned off at a side road next to a church, and we picked up speed.

Emmy Lou in not her favorite spot.

The medicine helped with the yowling.  It did not help much with the pooping (You should have seen me at a rural stop sign grabbing Kleenex and flinging cat poop out of the window to the side of the road!) or throwing up.  (Which only happened once.  ON the towel. Thank heavens.)  After that she did settle down, got quiet, and I think she actually slept part of the way.  She was even better on the way home so the next time we have to do this? I’m giving her the meds 3 hours ahead of leaving instead of 2.

Diagnosis on the growing barnacle on her side?  Sebaceous cyst. The vet lanced and drained it (totally gross. Seriously. eww.) And shaved around it to increase the air drying it out. I’ve just got to wash it once a day.  As it is in a place she can’t reach we don’t have to worry about her licking it.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger voice in my head shouting “It’s a TUMOR!” can now be quieted.  We trimmed her nails while we had her there since she won’t use a scratching post.  She got a rabies shot and we were good to go.  For the 1/2 hour drive home.  Miss sweet thing.  For 19 years old she is in great health and we should have another few good years with her.  I’m so glad we didn’t get a “terminal” diagnosis on her.

Some sewing did happen -

But not much – just a set of 5 more.

You know how I love to switch machines out.  I do I do I do.  I also brought up my darker art deco cabinet from Wallburg, to sit opposite the blonde wood art deco cabinet that holds my 301 in its cradle at the Quiltville Post Office. I moved the beautiful mahogany cabinet with the 15 in it over to the Inn how that we are on the push to get everything set up over there.

The art deco cabinets have MORE LEG ROOM beneath as it is minus a front left leg.  The fold out table sections really do add a lot of workspace, and the three drawers for storage are so practical.

The machine in the cabinet?  My friend Nancy B brought several machines to me when I was teaching in Pennsylvania in September.  I spent some time cleaning up the 201 and placed her in the cabinet this week to give her a go.  Such a quiet stitcher, and so much power!  Her main task will be for binding, but I loved piecing the Crooked Log Cabin blocks on her.  Thanks, Nancy!  The little Singer 99 machines are going to live at Quiltville Inn as loaner/back up machines for retreaters. They are the perfect size and so easy to run. And no bobbin cases to lose.

And do you see what I see to the RIGHT of the cabinet?

My IronEZ #2 has found a perfect spot next to my machine-side pressing table!

I love that the clip has a wide range of adjustability and the thick rubber grips in the top and bottom of the clip won't harm my vintage sewing cabinet - where I've got it clipped here.

No more spray bottles will be taking long drops to the floor, and the holster fits numerous sizes of spray bottles including your Best Press, Flatter, spray starch in a can, fine mist flairosol bottles, and even a beverage water bottle! (Hydrate hydrate hydrate!)

If you'd like to win one (USA addresses only please) enter to win on this past Wednesday's blog post. Drawing to happen Monday!

And SURPRISE!  We will be drawing THREE LUCKY WINNERS!

You can order them directly at myironez.com and save 15٪ using coupon code BH15off on the checkout page!

October is still in full swing!

And so is the half-price sale on my Punkin Patch Table Runner pattern, only $4.00!

You could be stitching pumpkins by lunch time! NOTE - you do not need a PayPal account to make a purchase Paypal jus just my credit card processor.  You can use your regular credit card as a Paypal Guest.  You can also do an Echeck this way.  Just follow the illustration directions found partway down the front page of the Quiltville Store.

And with that, (and very slow internet this morning) It’s time to get this day up and going.  It’s Design Wall Saturday – I’ll be covering foam insulation boards and getting them ready to install – ONE STEP CLOSER!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Vintage broken dishes in a nine patch quilt found in North Carolina.

Every day is a brand new chapter. We can fill the pages however we want to.

The past doesn't dictate who we are becoming.

Welcome to the weekend, folks!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag!

Downtown Independence, Virginia!

Side view of the old 1908 Courthouse as seen from the steps of the NEWER Grayson County Courthouse.

I was down here yesterday to take care of all of the tax and business license stuff for Quiltville Inn.  Let’s check all of those boxes and consider them done.  We are good to go!  Yippee!

What was so funny – as I explained to Larry, the Grayson County Commissioner of Revenue (Now that’s a title!) just what we were doing I was reminded of how wonderful small town living is, and how everyone knows everyone and they are genuinely interested in what folks are doing to create their own kind of happiness.

“I purchased the old Field’s Mansion in Mouth of Wilson a year and a half ago with the intent to turn it into a Quilter’s Retreat.  I also plan on teaching workshops there.”

“Oh, you are the one who bought Aaron Floyd’s old place?” (the previous owners.  LOL!)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Cooler Nights are Made for Quilting!

I thought I was making good progress on this – but – what?  Oh, Emmy Lou Lou, how am I supposed to get ANYTHING DONE?!

Yesterday was a blur.  That’s all I can say.  From the time I cooked breakfast to the time I toddled the 7 miles home to the cabin, it was just many hours of scattered go go go.  The kind of day where you don’t feel like you accomplish much of anything.  A bit of this, a bit of that – the proverbial “keeping all plates spinning” while trying to keep any one of them from flying off its stick and crashing to the floor.

My brain kept saying “Too much! too much! too much!” And I had to remind myself that I can only do what I can only do.

So at the end of it all, stitching in the evening is what it took to finally calm my heart and soul.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

IronEZ Gift-Away, and a Whole Lotta Painting Going On!

Have I ever got a give away for you!

I received 3 MORE IronEZ  Spray bottle holders in the mail.  I was so sold after the first one that I immediately thought of where else I NEED to put one. 

The adjustable clip can fit a multitude of thicknesses – this will even clamp to a table top, tray or big board.

It fits and corrals a multitude of favorite bottle sizes – and the free bottle that comes with it has even a finer mist than the traditional trigger spray on Best Press. 

I am just this sold on the product, and the kind folks at IronEZ are offering a 15% discount to my readers – AND – we are giving away one! (Due to shipping, this gift-away is available to USA residents only please.) 

Someone is going to save themselves from knocking that spray bottle off of their ironing board ever again.

Here is the back story behind IronEZ:

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Virginia is for……Quilters!

Die, Kudzu, Die!

For those of you unfamiliar with the south – you might not even have a clue of what the heck KUDZU is.  Just think of it like the old Jack & the Beanstalk legend – this leafy green vine grows at incredible rates – it’s true!  You can actually WATCH it grow (up to a foot a day!) until it covers everything in its path, turning anything that stands still into topiary sculptures. 

It will grow up the tallest tree, and then grow back down to the ground again forming curtains of green around everything.  It is comically (and non-comically as it has consequences) known as "the vine that ate the South."

Monday, October 07, 2019

Thank You SEW MUCH, Ladies!

I’m back home in Wallburg!  My flights went smoothly, and my feet where touching down in Greensboro by 7pm.

Grab the suitcases, locate the car in long term parking – head home and crash.  Running the four-airport-gauntlet can just wear a girl out.  But it is the best kind of worn out, and as I look at this photo and all of the faces in it I am so happy that i got to spend 3 days with these wonderful, amazing, kind, funny, talented folks.

And I hope that some day we can do this all again.  And I’d come earlier.  And play LONGER!

Saturday, October 05, 2019

A Friday in the Punkin’ Patch!

We are having THE BEST TIME!

It’s one thing to give this class as a one day, hurry up, get all the parts done, all techniques covered in the span of 6 hours.

It’s quite another when you get to ease into production starting on a Thursday evening after a lovely dinner – and then on in to Friday, spacing out the demos between smaller groups and realizing there is no worry, no hurry and folks can work at their own paces – 

We want happy pumpkins, not tired, hurried, regimented ones!

Friday, October 04, 2019

From Coast to Coast and a Bit of Quilt-Cam!

Salt Lake City in the sunshine!

My travel day from the east coast to the west started at the sound of my alarm going off at 3am to get me going.  It was a four airport day, a three time zone change but it was worth it for all the fun stuff going on this weekend in Pleasanton California for the 19th Annual Alex Anderson Fall Retreat!

It was one of those days that starts with a hiccup – after leaving the house at 4am to arrive at the airport by 4:30am to check my bags, head through security, find my gate – the announcement came over the speaker that maintenance had been called to check a switch. This caused a delay.  Would I make my Detroit connection? Or would this be the start of a domino effect that could topple the whole itinerary?

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Nov/Dec ‘19 Quiltmaker Gift-Away!

Here I am, on the road again – flying coast to coast to sunshine filled California, to teach for Alex Anderson’s Fall Retreat in Livermore!

Oh, someone pinch me, this is just a dream come true.  I love Alex to bits, it’s been too long since we’ve been in the same place at the same time, and I am going to be spending the weekend with 40+ quilters deep into the string piecing of Punkin Patch from String Frenzy!

And since my flight leaves extra extra early and I was in the need of writing a post ahead of time, what better time is there to offer up this fun Gift-Away, and draw for our winner when I return on Monday.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Crooked Courthouse Steps!

It all started with The Plague.

Okay, so it wasn’t really the PLAGUE – but a round of bronchitis, double ear infection and sinus infection that may as well be forever known as the 2019 Trifecta of Death.

But something happens when I’m under the effects of copious amounts of antibiotics, cold meds and Nyquil.  I QUILT!  

In fact, I can’t even TYPE NYQUIL without turning it into NYQUILT and then have to edit it.  So there you go. Enough explanation.

I love my string bins more than life itself.  The depths are bottomless and full of so much variety that it is a complete joy to dig in and see what I can find and sew into good use.  And that’s where this whole saga of a tutorial starts.  The strings.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Well, Hello October!

It appears we have a bear that likes salt licks.

And although I find bears fascinating from afar – (Like in a ZOO – behind walls.) I am terrified of bears in my front yard.

I take that back – I know they are amazing, and nature is wonderful, and they can live on any part of this 42 acres of mountainside we call home in Southwestern Virginia, but please – stay where I can’t see you!  My biggest fear is they will catch me unaware when I am leaving the cabin for the car, or opening the garage or what have you.

I do know that these little black bears are more scared of us than we are of them – but the story still holds true.  Don’t get between a mama bear and her babies.  And this one is about a teenager in age from what we can guess.

And this was in the DAYLIGHT – not sneaky in the night time.  Oy!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Fall About Town -

I am captured by seasonal window displays!

And you should have seen the contortions I had to go through to get this one!  But this quilt, y’all.  Those are individually pieced little tiny diamonds.  It was “for display only” but the colors.  I love pumpkin orange season – and throw in some indigo?  Beauty!

The little town of West Jefferson is just so cute – but it all comes out to play in Fall.  Park your car – walk up and down the few blocks of cute shops, yummy eateries, and you’ll find pumpkins, gourds and scarecrows and all other fall decor wherever you look.  It’s EVERYWHERE.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Autumn on the Virginia Creeper Trail!

Damascus, Virginia.  Our Day started here!

Had I thought twice about it, I would have called for reservations. But had I called, there wouldn’t have been any availability.  I guess in my  naiveté it never occurred to me that OF COURSE the changing of leaf colors would bring folks in droves and all shuttle rides from Damascus (Which boasts NINE huge bike rental/shuttle service places!) to White Top mountain would be full.

But we didn’t plan ahead, and when we showed up, walked in – there had just been a cancellation and there was room for us on the 10am shuttle.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Bit of Place Mat Action–and 2 Quilty Box Winners!

Quilting All the Small Things!

I am having a blast with these place mats.  How much fun it will be for the guests at Quiltville Inn to smile and giggle at the cute slogans and quilting related plays-on-words with these!

I am also excited that they are making good use of bigger floral prints that are harder for me to use.  They make a great backing and then I don’t have to cut them up so much – the fabric can speak for itself.

I have found that two placemats fit wonderfully on the fabric, selvage to selvage. The margins that are left can be stripped up and placed right into the string piecing bins for another go round.

And those batting scraps!  Those are also going down.  it’s a triple win/win/win!

Friday, September 27, 2019

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

This beautiful bounty is in the drive in front of Quiltville Inn!

We get all kinds of things being transported up and down highway 58, I watch logging trucks, farmers pulling cattle, horse trailers, different brands of things plastered on the side of semi truck trailers.  It’s quite entertaining.

It’s those tractors pulling loads of hay that you don’t want to get stuck behind – there is nowhere to pass.  And if they are mowing the sides of the road?  Just cue up the audio book or your favorite CD (Remember those?  Your Spotify or Pandora won’t work out here, and likely neither will your cell phone.) and prepare to live life in the slow lane.

When the truck pulling this load of pumpkins pulled up in the drive, I came out the front door of the Quiltville Post Office to see if he needed help.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

On Today’s To-Do List -

Place mat productivity is ramping up again  - let those string blocks and borders loose!

I’ve got 7 made.  I’d love to have a good 20 on hand – we know that spills happen and that is what place mats are for in the first place.  SO many license plates have been sent from all over, and I am really enjoying seeing the slogans, shop names and locations come together in these fun little projects destined to use up a plethora of strings, scraps of batting and backing fabric that really does need a new lease on life.

I have a large bin of FLORALS that are perfect.  I don’t sew with huge florals a lot in my quilt life, you just can’t cut them small enough!  Often they are prettiest when left whole, and as placemat backings they will be perfect.

And all of those batting scraps?  I am SO happy to have a way to use them up too.

Today’s job will be getting this batch loaded into the machine and get the quilting going.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Things of a Less Quilty Nature -

This is a photo of a heinous chestnut tree.

I’m not sure if that is actually the species name, but it is definitely the name I am giving it. 

This is the first time I’ve had a chestnut tree in the yard, and to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t be sad if it left – but it would have to leave a full sized many decades old tree-of-another-kind in its spot were it to move off and go elsewhere.

THOSE HULLS!  They are prickly beyond belief and it is this time of the year that they start hitting the ground in bunches.

Last fall was our first foray into chestnut pick up – this year we are doing things a bit differently.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Manic Quilting–Of the Best Kind!

This was Sunday’s Quilty Pleasure!

When The Hubster said he was heading out on a motorcycle ride with Martha’s hubby Don, I knew I’d have at least PART of the afternoon to myself.  My goal?  To get the Crooked Courthouse Steps log cabin quilt quilted and trimmed, preparing it for binding.

Could I be done by dinner time?  YES!

Monday, September 23, 2019

September ‘19 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

What a fabulous Quilty Box I have to Gift-Away to a lucky quilter this month!

Color drives me.  I’m sure it inspires you, too – and this month it’s all about color, delicious color!

What is a Quilty Box?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

When Emmy Lou Came Home.

This happened on Friday evening.  Now that I am in Virginia “MOST” of the time, it’s been weighing heavily on me to get Emmy Lou up here where she can live out the remainder of her days in peace and quiet – not in mayhem and chaos having to deal with rowdy Dresden and Lola.

The trio has never gotten along really well, and at 19 – who can blame Emmy Lou for just wanting to be left alone?

The getting her here was an adventure all its own, and luckily I wasn’t the one doing the driving.  The Hubster returned from China on Thursday night, took care of a bunch of things on Friday while working from home, and brought Emmy up with him in a carrier on Friday evening.  

I don’t know who to feel more sorry for.  Dave?  Or Emmy Lou, who proceeded to get sick at both ends and meowed pitifully the whole 100 mile journey.  She hasn’t been in a car in many years, and it was very traumatic for her to say the least.  And Dave too, who not only had to listen to the cacophony, but smell it as well.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

On A Glorious Day Such as This!

Martha and I stopped at the overlook on our way to Chilhowie, Virginia – It’s a pilgrimage that needs to be done and appreciated during every seasonal change. 

And yesterday things were highlighted in the most gorgeous of golden glows.

The drizzle of the day before had dissipated, and we would find ourselves amidst cloud cover changing over to sunshine and blue skies, and back to cloud cover again as if the sky couldn’t yet decide whether it truly wanted to be autumnal, or hanging on to the slim remnant of summer.

My first outing in 2 weeks really – and it felt so good to be taking these long and winding roads to where our hearts lead us.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Quilter With a One Track Mind!

And then all rows were ready!

I didn’t web this top.  I built it in rows.  And during the assembly process, I wish I had webbed it.  WHY??

Because finding the exact place where one block ended and the next began was kind of a crap shoot with this much chaos.  Some of those strips were really narrow – was it THIS seam I was matching or the next one?

There was much unpicking of seams and readjusting as all rows should END evenly – they were the same number of blocks, the same length after all, right?

So take it from me – WEB this top.  Then there is no guessing of which seam needs to be matched to its neighbor in the next row.  Just trust me!

Yes, I know I was on a roll with this one.  It’s been a project that grabbed me and just wouldn’t let go.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

And Into Thursday -

This is where I stand right now!

I had hoped to get this top together yesterday, but a dental appointment took up much of my afternoon time, and since I was in town (The nearest grocery store to Mouth of Wilson, Virginia is a half-hour drive through winding Blue Ridge mountain roads in either direction, no matter your destination…) other mundanities like groceries, gas for the car and stuff took up the rest of my time until 5pm.

I didn’t mind the grocery shopping.  I love seeing what produce is available this time of year.  I adore seeing bins of pumpkins taking up residence and adding wonderful fall color to the displays.  The flowers in front changing to colorful pots of mums in yellows and rusty reds.  I can feel it in the air, can you?

Yesterday’s continual drizzle also brought the temps down to the point that sandals were finally discarded for warm socks and running shoes.  I still may have ONE pedicure left within me this year – I’m heading to California early October for Alex Anderson’s Fall Retreat. (If you are coming, I can’t wait to spend a fun weekend with you!) And then I think I am fairly safe to give a fond farewell to Summer 2019.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Bit of Tuesday’s Doings -

I’m back on the Crooked Courthouse Steps train!

I started the day out hopeful that I’d be able to function well enough to record a scheduled podcast with The Quilting Company. 

And I timed myself – because we need to know these things.  Podcasts last about an hour, give or take a bit.

How long could I go without hacking up a lung, or play another round of Kleenex Tuba? 

Three to five minutes. Tops.

I tried talking out loud to see what I sounded like after more than a week of vow-of-silence recovery.

Like Kermit the Frog.  This just would not do.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Jewel Box Stars Finish -


I’ve posted photos of Jewel Box Stars as I was finishing the binding, but I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to get full out photos over the porch rail.

I thought yesterday would be THE DAY, but it turned out to be too breezy to get a good hanging over the outside of the porch.  So Sadie jumped in (and on) to hold down the quilt from the breeze while I snapped a couple!

My job now is to edit the original Jewel Box Stars post with an update on how many blocks I made, finishing details, etc.

The blocks are 6’’ on their own, and I turned 4 blocks in toward each other to make 12’’ star blocks.  I set the blocks 6 x 8 so the quilt measures 72’’ x 96,

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tale of the Traveling FREE Machine!

Meet Diane of Richmond, Virginia.

She had contacted me months and months ago about a machine she was needing to rehome, and would I be interested?

She said “I'm from a quilting and antique-loving family, and I would like to donate this sewing machine to your Quiltville Inn."

"This is an early 1900's Free treadle sewing machine in a beautiful tiger oak cabinet.  The machine has an automatic lift, instruction booklet, metal box with attachments, and seems to be in terrific condition.  My parents bought the machine, and I have used it as an end table and night stand."

"FYI, the Free Sewing Machine Company was founded in 1900 in Rockford, Illinois by owner William C. Free.  The company was later purchased by Westinghouse.”

A plan was hatched to meet up with Diane on my way to Pennsylvania for the Quilt Odyssey Fall Retreat.  And I am so glad I did!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Two Months In–Leader & Ender Check!

While I can’t share much of what has also been going on behind the scenes (It’s that time of year!) I can show you just what was accomplished as Leaders & Enders in just YESTERDAY’s round of sewing mayhem.

These little cuties have just stolen my heart.  Have you jumped in on this year’s Shoo Fly Shoo Leader & Ender Challenge?  We just started in July.  It runs all year long.  There is no specific completed project, no particular block size to shoot for – the objective is to use your scraps.  To cut block sets out ahead of time, and keep them by your machine and to build the blocks using the pairs and pieces as “sew-betweens” during the making of your main focus projects.

The basic directions are found under the Free Patterns Tab at the top of the blog, and I’ve given cutting directions for two sizes – the small ones finish at 4’’ and the larger one at 6’’.  Pick your favorite size – or choose some of both.  It’s up to you.

If you follow along, you’ll also get very good at “webbing” the block – instructions are included for that too.  Just wait until you see how it improves your quilting productivity.  It’s a game changer!