Friday, January 31, 2020

Home Again -

It was a perfect January afternoon for flying.

We gave ourselves plenty of time – the drive to the airport from my dad’s place is not a long one.

We stopped at First Watch for brunch, and talked longer than most of the patrons in the place as we lingered over hot mugs. We were wanting to grasp every moment we could before we said “Farewell!”  and “See you later!” but never “Goodbye.”

We laugh about it every time we do this.

My Grannie, Dad’s mother – she hated partings in the worst way.  She would steel herself and pull you up to the curb, and not making a big deal about it would say “In this family we don’t do goodbyes, so have a safe flight and call me when you land.”  She didn't even get out of the car to hug you.  That was my Grannie.

I swear, I can still hear her voice.  And somehow, I think she can still hear ours.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Leaving a Lot of Love with Dad -

I gave dad his quilt!

Before coming to Arizona, I walked through the closet (aka the Quilt Vault) to choose something that would look great at Dad’s place.

Criss-Cross Applesauce is found my my book Scraps & Shirttails ii, and has been a favorite for a long time.  It not only includes some of my OWN shirts in the mix, but many of my grandfather’s as well.

The repeat of simple blocks with random value placement throughout makes me happy..  the size of the blocks – not too big, not too small – also make this a fun project to work on.

And it’s just the right size to fit a queen sized guest bed – so guess who slept under it the entire time I was in Arizona?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

No Time for Stitching!

My hand stitching time has been a bit disjointed lately.

I know it is something that happens to all of us from time to time – we hit the proverbial brick wall.  We find ourselves busy with other things.  Or, as in my case – I hadn’t flown anywhere since December – and then the holidays happened and my ever present busy bag project began to languish.

On this trip – my early morning flight from Greensboro to Atlanta to Phoenix found me falling asleep on the Phoenix leg of the trip, my busy bag remaining unopened in my travel back pack tucked under the seat in front of me.  It never came out.  I never opened it.  I didn’t thread a needle, baste a piece, sew it to another – NADA.

I thought I’d have evening time while in Phoenix after workshop days at 35th Ave Sew & Vac were over, but instead I spent my evenings with friends and enjoying people.  It seemed the much better thing to do.  Stitching could wait.

While I’ve been here at Dad's, I stayed one night here, then the next night in Gilbert at Sharolyn’s, and then back here again – but the lighting situation is just not great.

We need to run to IKEA!  (Those floor lamps in the Hen Den at Quiltville Inn are the bomb and I’d love one here!) but that opportunity hasn’t come about because we’ve been knocking things off of dad’s to do list.

How far has my stitching gotten?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

I’m Walkin’ on Sunshine….

Here is your new Tuesday ear worm, ready to play its way through your day!

Arizona sunshine has been a part of my winter routine all the way back to my high school years when my Grannie and Grandpa John first became snowbirds, arriving from Minnesota sometime around October and returning to their home base in Minneapolis sometime around early May.

They built their casa in Rio Verde when I was about 16, and we made it a point of coming to spend time around our birthdays together as often as possible.

Even during my school years in California, it was a welcome respite from the day to day routine of life.

As a young mother living in Idaho, it felt like such a gift to leave my kids in the care of The Hubster as I went to recharge my batteries around my birthday.

Yesterday morning was cool and glorious, and Sharolyn and I set out to take a long morning walk while talking up a storm over things that have happened over the past year since I was here last.

Winter in Arizona lasts all of about 3 weeks.

Take a look at this tree branch from Sharolyn’s front yard – blossoms are already gone, leaves are starting!

Oh, the wondrous hope of spring to come!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Movie Time, Family Time, Friend Time and Quilty Box Drawing Time!

THIS Quilty Box of Beauty is being drawn for this morning!

It’s got everything you need to set you on your own English Paper Piecing journey with fabric, thread, hexagon template, paper pieces and Bundles of Inspiration magazine to get you started.

once you fall in love with EPP there is no turning back!

The original post for this gift-away contains all of the details about the products and fabric collection designer, Elizabeth Olwen

Now we can get all of that gorgeous fabric and other goodies in this box on their way to their new destination:

Sunday, January 26, 2020

I Went to a Garden Party….

I went to a Garden Party, to reminisce with my old friends…

Do I have your latest ear worm taking a strong hold yet?

I so loved yesterday's Garden Party workshop from my book Addicted to Scraps!  

What’s not to like about temps in the low 70s at the end of January?

And the fact that we had to turn the A/C ON because it was “Getting warm in here!” inside the class room space at 35th Ave Sew &Vac?

But honestly – would have been just as lovely should I have been somewhere back east in the cold as long as I was surrounded by wonderfully fun and creative women as have filled our spaces while I’ve been in Phoenix this week.

And OH, the shenanigans!  The shout outs posted to friends far away, funny photo ops  trying to make ourselves look seriously tough:

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Idaho Square Dance–Arizona Style!

This is what I love doing best!

I LOVE being able to share the things I’ve learned over my 35+ years journey in patchwork and quilting.

Sometimes it’s the most simple of adjustments that can make what is extremely frustration to a newbie make all of the difference when it comes to getting units and blocks to come out the right size, fit together without pulling or bunching, and having seams that nest for sharp connections.

Oh sure, there is always going to be a need for a seam ripper and a bit of sliver trimming – but we want that part to be the least tedious so we can enjoy more of what we love doing – watching that design come together, bringing our quilt vision to life in fabric and in thread.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Emeralds of Many Colors!

If you think Emeralds can only come in green, think again! 

We gathered yesterday in the new event center at 35th Ave Sew & Vac in Phoenix, Arizona for the first workshop day of our 3-day series – Emerald City from my book String Frenzy!

And what a day we had!  The new event center is such an awesome space – we had close to 50 folks sewing away, and it was WONDERFUL!

One of the reasons I do not promote sewing from kits with my workshops is that it eliminates individual creativity, and stops us from observing possibilities we didn’t even know we liked – you might see your neighbor working on a color combo that you’d never given a second thought to, and suddenly you KNOW you have to try that with your next quilt.

And we had SO many awesome color combos going yesterday!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

From Phoenix with Love!

This is Sherri’s Pineapple Crazy from String Fling!

Oh – hold on to your hats folks – she went way above and beyond what I did and made this gigantic beauty nearly king size with 400 blocks coming to 100’’ x 100’’!

This photo is from the show & share portion of yesterady’s presentation event at 35th Ave Sew & Vac in Phoenix where I am teaching this week. 

I was blown away by everyone’s gorgeous quilts, but I swear – the entire room stopped breathing when Sherri unfurled her Pineapple Crazy.

Take a look at the full sized photo here .  It’s AMAZING!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

All the Way to Phoenix.

This quilt traveled with me to Phoenix yesterday.

Not as part of my Lecture/Trunk Show really – but because someone I love dearly is turning 80 in about 2 weeks.

I know I am so blessed beyond measure to have parents that are not only surviving, but truly THRIVING into their 80s.  And what else does a quilter daughter do when someone reaches such a huge milestone in their lives?  We give quilts to those we love most because there is love in every stitch!

During our Thanksgiving in Virginia, Dad commented on how he loves snuggling under my quilts, as it’s like being surrounded by hugs no matter how far away I am.

OF COURSE you can have another quilt for your birthday, dad! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

January ‘20 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

It’s a brand new year, and a brand new adventure for the folks at Quilty Box!

There are a few new faces in the Bundles of Inspiration magazine – The same folks that give you so much inspiration at Paper Pieces, are now the new owners of Quilty Box!

I am so excited about this transition – this means:

1. World class customer service from actual quilters!
2. Extremely fast shipping! (Always a good thing!)
3. Increased value with more quilting notions including templates we know you will love!

Our January Quilt Box is full of so much quilty goodness:

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Sunday Evening Aftermath.

This is what happens with a burst of quilt creativity!

We used to joke about our son Jeff – that when walking into the kitchen you could see just where he’d been and what he’d had – as every cabinet door he’d opened remained open. Just connect the dots – it was all there.  And usually the lights were still on long after he’d gone.

I guess he comes by it honestly! LOL!  Because I do the same thing with my quilting.

An idea starts – and out come the Scrap User’s System strips in the sizes that I need – the color families that I need – bundles unfurling into endless variety, making it so easy to pull together just what I want and need.  

You can tell what I've been up to by looking at my cutting table!

It’s the putting it back that takes a bit of time – not as much as you would think – but it does take a bit of discipline not to just throw these in a box and close the lid.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sew & Little, Paint a Lot!

I’ve gotten this far.

The Irish Courthouse blocks were finished while Jill was here. 

I finished the row assembly during early-morning-before-blog-writing hours.  It didn’t take long!  That is the beauty of making a small-ish quilt.

But when it came to borders – THAT took some thinking.  I wanted something interesting, not just a hunk of blue or red fabric at the edge to call it “good enough.”

Graph paper and Scrap User’s System to the rescue!

Those neutral squares you see at the top and bottom of the border?  Directly from my scrap squares bins.  It makes the variety so instantaneous!  And while sewing the geese and other bits, I’ve been using the pairs of neutral squares as Leaders & Enders to push me further along.  Such a fun game to play while piecing!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Come Caturday Morning -

Miss Lola and a bit of Frolic mischief!
Happy Caturday!

Let me just start this morning post by saying just how overwhelmed I am with the response to yesterday’s Frolic Mystery reveal.

I was up extra early yesterday morning – having spent most of my free time the week before getting that release post and the PDF printer version ready.  We had company come a week ago – our nephew Scott arriving on Saturday, my friend Jill driving in on Sunday afternoon.  Scott leaving Monday afternoon, Jill and I playing Monday and Tuesday – running here and there to do the “glamour” shots of the quilt in a rural setting, plus porch photos.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Wednesday with the Ashe County Girls!

It was a day of many surprises – and definitely a day to remember!

Yesterday Quiltville Inn opened her doors wide to receive 11 ladies from the nearby Ashe County Quilters.

A sew day full of friendship building, creativity, and connection!

I am still so high on cloud nine that I don’t think I’ll ever come down.

First one car, then another – the unloading of crock pots bearing soups, platters of delicacies, favorite salads, munchies galore!  All to be enjoyed while sewing.

And this time – THIS TIME – I got to participate!  It was wonderful wonderful wonderful.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Days of Quilting, Friendship & Laughter!

From strips to four-patches -

Isn’t strip piecing just the best?  This was my morning yesterday.

I’m also happy to report that Operation Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs – Try number TWO was a complete success. 

I’m not sure what happened the first time around, it it was likely operator error, but we are well on our way now and I am excited about learning to make many of the recipes from the many places I’ve been directed to thanks to your comments.

I need something that can speed up the dinner process from time to time.  I get home from the Quiltville Post Office about 5pm, and if I don’t know what the plan is before I leave in the morning – dinner turns out to be “BREAKFAST” or even the “Let’s just go out” which is happening far too frequently in my book.  It’s not healthy for my body, it’s certainly not healthy for my wallet.

I’d love to know what your favorite recipes are – in fact, we could have a recipe share by posting your favorites in the comments section below!  Ready? Set? POST!  I’ll link this post to the recipes tab at the top of the blog so we can always go back and find new ones to try.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Bit of Out & About–And Quilting!

Overcast and dreary -

A typical January day.

But we were not letting that stop us!  Yesterday was the day to learn to use the Instant Pot that Kim brought to Quiltville Inn in August – it had still been sitting in its box as I was too afraid to use it!

Jill and I headed out on a round about journey to retreat the Instant Pot, get the outgoing mail to the USPS office, do a bit of barn sighting around the area (I love showing new folks the cool old stuff around here!) and eventually make it back to the cabin where we would do something SIMPLE for my first foray – like hard boiled eggs for egg salad sandwiches for lunch.

But first – photo ops had to happen!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Jill’s on the Mountain!

She’s here and sewing away!

This vintage Featherweight card table holds Jill’s sweet featherweight.

When she said she wanted to bring this cutie I mentioned that I had a card table so she could sew with her flat to the table surface.  I hadn’t pulled out the table to be used in quite a while -

The only problem?   I moved some things around, set up the card table and -

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Morning After the Rain -

These two greeted me this morning!

Actually, there were four – 3 at the salt lick and one just in the yard.

I was attempting to get the big camera out so I could zoom in for some photos, and just the click of turning on the camera sent one bounding beyond the bushes and up the mountain, soon followed by the second as the click of my camera raised the alarm.

Mind you – the first photos I took were THROUGH the glass of the window.

Those ears can hear EVERYTHING!

But these faces!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Cut it Up, Use it Up!

I have another project at hand!

And I am SO excited.  The whole thing makes me giddy with anticipation – I climbed out of bed at 6am, eager to pull fabrics and get cutting.

Yes, it’s a busy weekend ahead.  There is painting to happen at Quiltville Inn today – starting with the Hen Den and moving through the kitchen and the back entry.

And our nephew arrives from Texas this evening for a visit. 

My friend Jill will be on her way down from Pennsylvania tomorrow.

I’ll have a full house – and there are meals to consider among other things.

But this PROJECT!!  I need to make this project!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

SIZE MATTERS! (Needles!)

Remember this sweet little lady?

I brought her home as a gift from my friend Elisabeth in December of 2018.

It was MAY before I really had the chance to dig in and attempt to bring her back to life.

And that was put on hold due to a missing spring that attached to the feed dogs below.

A part was located sometime in June, and then July hit and things went crazy with my schedule.  Until New Year’s Day.  I wrote about this last week, so this is the continuing saga of the oddly named C.G. HDW machine (Made by the White Sewing Machine Company.) and how she FINALLY got to sew!

And THEN – when I was eager to hook her up to a belt and get her running, I found that the one leather belt I had was too SHORT.  The black rubber tubing belt that I get from Lehman’s was too thick to pass through the belt guard of the balance wheel underneath the machine.  GAH!!

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

A Snow Day Sew Day of Fun!

Do you remember as a child when school was cancelled for any reason, and you got to stay HOME and PLAY!?

That’s exactly what happened here in my corner of Southwestern Virginia.

The snow came down, BOY did it ever come down!

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Mona and the Snow Event!

If you’re going to face being snowed in -

You may as well be snowed in with a friend!

Mona arrived yesterday morning bringing with her a couple of tops for the long arm machine.  Both of them Diamond Tile quilts, made with the block from my Addicted to Scraps column in Quiltmaker Magazine

This block has been SO FUN to play with – she has chosen to fussy cut many of her center squares, using novelty fabrics and big bright florals.  One quilt will be going to her cousin’s granddaughter who is turning 4, and the second to her own granddaughter, also turning four.  These two sweeties are very close in age, and full of sugar, spice and everything nice!

At this point it was close to 50 degrees and sunny - the snow wasn’t falling yet, but wait for it – wait for it!

Monday, January 06, 2020

Time Out For Quilt-Cam! (Cushion Cover Tutorial!)

I had some free time yesterday afternoon!

I wasn’t sure it would REALLY happen, but as it turned out – the option for me to drive over to the QPO to put a binding on a cushion cover provided a wonderful opportunity to log in to Facebook Live and share my whole process.

Why bind alone, when you can by with thousands of your closest internet friends? LOL!

I know binding is not a mystery to many, but there are a lot of new quilters that have joined us during our Frolic mystery and at some point they are going to need to tackle that binding thing as well, so hopefully this will give some clues.

And maybe there are some who also have a fairly shredded but still too good to toss out quilt that may serve you better as cushions to be enjoyed, than something folded and kept in a pillowcase in the closet.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Work Hard, Play Hard, Nap Hard!

Oh Dresden!

Dresden and Lola have settled in to life at the Quiltville Post Office, can you tell?

It’s making working at the computer a bit of a challenge – I mean, who wants to wake this sleeping beast so you can actually SEE where to click your mouse at the bottom toolbar on the screen?  He’s right up on my icons!  But that soft snoring?  I can’t resist it.  It reminds me continually that there are more important things in life than work, work, work.

And sometimes you just have to take time out and scratch the kitty bellies.  Click to Play:

Saturday, January 04, 2020

The Quiltville Inn Retreat Rally!

It’s the TIME you’ve all been waiting for!

It’s the moment I’ve been pondering, plotting and planning for almost 2 years now. 

It was January 2018 when our offer on Quiltville Inn was accepted, and the journey began.

It’s been an adventure, a labor of love, with SO MUCH to do to make this beautiful 1880s home ready for group retreats.

We knew it would take this long to be ready.  We have tried to be realistic when it came to things like replacing 31 windows.  Adding heating and a/c to the ground floor, replacing appliances, painting, oh the painting!

And it is still on-going.  Porch rails and decking are on the docket for painting this spring when the weather is more welcoming.  Interior window frames, door frames and doors and baseboards  - those are still being painted as time allows. We also know that upkeep will be continual, and that is the best way to show our love to this beautiful place!

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Party Like a Block Star! (and FMQ like one too!)

I spent my New Year’s day with 110 year old friend!

It didn’t start out this way – My plan for new Year’s Day was to finally get the old White treadle that Elisabeth so lovingly handed over to me up and running.  I mean – I’d had the part since JUNE!

But truth be told, it was a fix that I was flustered with myself, I couldn’t seem to get it right – and I needed help.

What would you do with parts like this??

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

A Very Quilty New Year!

I am Quilting into 2020!

I had a conversation with my dad yesterday afternoon that went like this:

“I can’t believe we are entering a new decade!  It’s the Roaring Twenties of the Twenty-First Century!”

“Well technically, dear daughter – we don’t start the next decade until 2021.  You are a year early.”

“But Dad, you know this is my world and I get to set the rules!  I’m going to run this decade thing the way I want to run it!”

And we laughed and laughed.  It ended up with “Have it your way if it makes you happy.”  “Likewise!”

The turning over of the 70, 80, 90, 00, 10 and now 20 have been remarkable milestones for me.  71, 81, 91, 01, 11??  Naaaaahhhh.  I’m not having it!