Sunday, December 25, 2022


This Christmas has been such a fun time with my family.  Lots of family time and goings on at our home.

On the Wednesday before Christmas my oldest grand daughter came by and made decorated cookies with me.  We have done this for several years now and it is so much fun.  She is the decorating queen for sure, I could never manage these beauties.

I am not the baker in my home.  Husband makes these pizzelles, my only contribution is dipping them in chocolate and he sprinkles on the crushed candy cane chips.

Husband's pecan pie as well.  Not only does he do the baking for them, but we have two pecan trees and he harvests and shells them for these beauties.  They are the families favorite for not only Thanksgiving but Christmas as well.

I am the clean up crew for all that kitchen baking, but then slithered off to my sewing room and to do some Christmas creation I'm much better at.  All the blogs with so many wonderful Christmas ideas really got me hooked so I started this project last week, but quickly ran out of all three fabrics to create 4 of these blocks to make a wall hanging.  So have turned it into a table topper and have it partially quilted.  

The leftovers came to a good substitute for another simple runner, and it is ready to quilt.  They will be all ready to gift for next Christmas.







Sunday, December 18, 2022


Christmas just about here.  The house is decorated and the tree is up with lights and all those decorations.  Some have been around for years, makes me smile about the fun memories.  The baklava is baked and in the freezer, and the cookie dough in the refrigerator and is ready to roll out and get those cookie cutters out and egg paint decorate them too.

When last week's scrap bin reduction was unsuccessful I decided to give it another try.  I decided this time to at least try to produce something with a bit more eye appeal.  These first 10 are done which will finish at 10 inches.  Have another 26 to go.

At least the rest of them are cut and ready to go.  They make a good evening project sitting in front of the TV preparing each step in the process, sewing them the next day and moving on to the next step the following evening.  Takes about three days to get a batch of 10 done.

Seems rather silly at this late date to be fussing around with a Christmas project, but there is always next year.  At this time of year with so much going on, these silly little projects seem to work.


Sunday, December 11, 2022


 This week looks like it is packed with to do lists.  Husband and I must bake Baklava this week, it is a full day and a half affair.  So worth it though.  The house needs to be decorated for Christmas, and  there are several parties and guild functions to attend.  Plus I am preparing again for two new beginners quilt classes in January and February.

My quilt guild has made and shipped over 100 quilts to the Ukraine over the last few months.  They are calling for more.  My scrap bins are overflowing.  No matter how often I think I have things under control in that closet, they keep multiplying.  So this week I have just pulled out everything bright and colorful and have worked on this quilt top.  I know that this will not make even a dent it the growing piles in there, but worth a try for a good cause. 

No sooner than I finished teaching my Beginners Quilting class at the end of November I was asked to teach an intermediate class for January and February.  We selected these two simple patterns, but will include quilting and binding them in the classes.

I selected a very simple quilting pattern for the students.  The classes will include 2 full days.  I have myself some work ahead of me. 

We celebrated my oldest grandson Elijah's 20th birthday last week.  He is getting ready to go to Fire Academy on the 6th of January.  The quilt is a bit of a joke between Elijah and I.  Over a year ago when he started college courses for his EMT and Fire Science he asked me to make him a fire engine quilt.  I laughed at him and told him he must be kidding.  However I discovered a picture of this fire engine quilt on the internet and thought I would give it a try.  I had to significantly increase the size of it, as it was a child's pattern, but it ended up really looking pretty good.  He was very surprised and very happy with it.




Sunday, December 4, 2022


 This past week finished off my Beginning Quilting 4 weeks class.  I was back to making some progress on my Alex Anderson basket quilt top.  I struggled with it, but finally managed to finish it off.  

I am finally fairly pleased with this quilt top.  It is certainly not perfect.  I had a good deal of trouble with getting points not cut off, bias blocks and in some cases not always being able to nest seams perfectly.  Thank goodness the fabric is so wild that it disguises them well.  It is off to the quilters right after the first of the year.  My quilter does not take or do any quilting in December.  So, my back and batting are ready, and I even have my binding cut and ready to go when the quilt comes back.

The three ladies above all finished off their quilt top in my Beginning Quilting class.  These three ladies had some sewing and quilting experience.   
This lady had absolutely no sewing experience.  She came with a sewing machine she hardly knew how to thread.  We did a bit of hand holding, but she got it done and it looks great.  No, not perfect but indeed a great job.  The other two ladies in the group got their blocks all done, and were confident enough to get their borders on.  They are promising to send pictures when complete and I will post them when I get them.  Next, they are all asking for another intermediate class.  The shop owner has already talked to me about coming up with a pattern and project in March or April.  

This is my oldest daughter's two couch potatoes.  They are English Mastiffs.  Liza the tan female on the left is about 4 years old, she weights in at about 100 pounds.  Loki the male on the right is just under a year old.  As you can see he is already nearly twice Liza's size.  I think he is weighing in at about 160 to 180 pounds now, but will when fully grown should come in at about 200 to 225.  Now that's a lot of dogs!

Sunday, November 27, 2022


This week is starting out better than last week ended.  I will be teaching my last Beginning Quilting class on Monday.  Everyone is doing well, getting all their blocks done and we will be putting on their borders.  My fusing issues from last week has been solved.  I scrapped the problem block and with the change from Steam a Seam 2 to Pellon Wonder Under heavy weight #725 have solved my Batik issue.  Fusing Issues

Very pleased with the first new block.  

This is the pattern I am using, not sure why every pattern I select lately is called Garden Party.  The pattern's blocks other than color and position changes are all the same.  Note I placed a large heart instead of the tiny little hearts at the end of the stem in front of the butterfly and will skip them as well in the other two areas of the blocks.  Little tiny hearts were not something I intended to mess with.  They are easily less than a half of a dime size, and there are multiples of them.  Appliquéing them really not posible and even cutting them out seemed insane.   

I am primarily using Batiks for this project.  I have a large bin of them, but of course you never seem to have enough.  I ended up shopping at my local quilt shop for more.  Fortunately a quarter yard of numerous additions wasn't too bad on the budget.  

Over the last few appliqué projects I have learned to bag up my fabric with thread matches.  Makes life way easier and saves lots of time searing for just the right color of thread multiple times. 

Have a nice start on the second block.  I will admit that selecting the fabrics I want to put together is the hardest job.

And my other fabric choices for the block laid out for the second flower, leaves, stem, and butterfly.

Sunday, November 20, 2022


The Garden Party Down Under quilt top is finished.  It has been a long eleven months, but I am pretty happy with myself as I stayed on task each month.  That is not the way I usually work, projects like this one in the past have often taken several years to complete.

I elected to not put on diamond borders.  It finishes at 63 by 63 inches now.  A perfect fit for my dining room wall above the buffet.  It is off to the quilter on Monday.

This week I started a new appliqué project by Laura Heine.  I immediately ran into a major issue.  I managed to get the entire lower left pieces appliquéd on fused the left side pieces when I realized I had a problem.

I was using Steam a Seam 2 to fuse my pieces on.  I noticed that the fusing is coming through and leaving a very apparent shadow.

And the two shown here are not all of the ones that were like that.  I discovered that the batiks were the issue.  I had some regular cotton pieces that showed no problems at all, but the batiks were not something I was going to deal with.  I scrapped the the project.  I cut out a couple samples of the batiks and tried Steam a Seam 2 Lite, it worked OK, but I was hesitant to trust it.  So I pulled out some Pellon Wonder Under in both heavy and medium weights.  The heavy weight worked just fine, no issue at all and it fuses well.  Moral of the story, is DO NOT USE STEAM A SEAM 2 FUSIBLE WITH BATIKS.

I spent the end of last week re-cutting, re-fuseing then re-appliquéd the new block pieces and will be taking the problem block to the quilt store where I am teaching a Beginning Quilting class to show the shop owner so she can warn others of this issue. 








Sunday, November 13, 2022


I managed the first week of teaching beginning quilting at our local quilt store on Monday.  I had two true beginners, not just quilting, but sewing.  They did really well, and by the end of the day had a couple rail fence and square dance blocks done that properly measured the 6 1/2 inch.   The other 3 ladies had some good sewing experience.  And, this coming week I have a 6th ladies, starting late, but fairly experienced so she should be able to catch up quickly.

On the home front I am on the last month of my Garden Party Down Under BOM.  This has been a long 11 months.  

These two are all ready to sew together and add to the rest of the quilt.  Stay toned next week for the finished quilt top.  
Major additional blocks added to the Baskets quilt top this week.  Both the basket blocks and the joiner blocks have been a chore.  Lots of bias edges, and not so sure about some of the light fabrics in the joining blocks, but I can rearrange them once all are finished and see how that goes.  



Sunday, November 6, 2022


 I have a busy month ahead of me.  I am teaching Beginning Quilting at our local quilt store.  Five students and at least two that are extremely new to sewing.  So lots of hand holding ahead of me.  The four Mondays of this month from 9:30 to 3:00.  Lots ahead of me.

Progress on my Alex Anderson Baskets class is coming along slowly.  I still have 3 more of the basket blocks to sew together and get on the design wall and lots more of the blocks that go between them.  This quilt top is much slower going together than I thought.  

These connect blocks are a bugger to make, they just take a good deal of time and pinning to get those seams all lined up and nested properly.  

I got feed up with baskets and decided to take a brief break and sew 3 Christmas runners.  My husband and I have coffee every Tuesday morning at a local Starbucks with 3 other couples.  One couple invites us to their home every December for coffee instead.  They fill their home full of Christmas trees and decorations.  Dozens of trees fully decorated, it is quite the site to see.  So this year I decided to gift the 3 ladies with a small Christmas runner.  This first one is done and the other 2 cut out and ready to go.

And the last month of my Garden Party Down Under blocks all ready to start.  These look to be the easiest of all the last 10 months behind me.

Our neighbors next door gifted Zoey our little Yorkshire Terrier with a new bed.  The boys next door, a Poodle and a Basset Hound, didn't like this comfy bed, so they gave it to Zoey.  She loves this bed, it has become the perfect spot to lay in while sunbathing in front of the glass doors in our bedroom.  This is truly the lap of luxury.




Sunday, October 30, 2022


This coming month is stacking up to be really busy.  Beginning on the 7th of November I will be teaching Beginning Quilting at our local quilt store.  A total of four classes, on Mondays, with a final results of a sampler quilt with 30 blocks and two borders.  Nice and easy blocks, like Rail Fence, Nine Patch, Square Dance and several varieties of Log Cabins.  Depending on how the ladies do we may substitute Hour Glass and Friendship Star in place of some of the Log Cabins.  

I am finally getting these baskets completed.  At the beginning of the week I had just these six done, with 30 more to go.  I have found that if I increased the cutting direction by just 1/8th of an inch I get a better quarter inch on the 4 points areas when I sew these blocks to their other coordinating blocks.  So this first set of 6 were a bit of nail bitting to get done. 
As the week ended I managed to get all 36 done, I developed a bit of an assembly line process and it went well.  I have decided on this layout rather than all four with the basket bottoms in the center.  Lazy actually as then I do not have to match the seams when joining them.  I guess I had enough fun with them.
The neutral quilt came back from the quilter this week.  I got what seemed like yards and yards of bias binding cut and sewn on and the handwork is done.  I am really pleased with this quilt. 
In particular the rounded corners are perfect.  The original pattern has the bias vines continuously around the corners.  I just did not like how they seemed to be so crowded so decided to wing it and stop it before the corners of the quilt.  However, leaving the corners squared off just did not look right either, so I decided to round them off.  I really like how that worked out.
Once again my quilter did a wonderful job.  Tracey the owner and quilter at Blossom Quilting in Oakdale, California is a true artist. 
This is our oldest daughter's English Mastiff Loki.  He is 9 months old and right around 160 pounds now, he will as an adult be in the 200 to 220 pound range.  For some reason he prefers to nap with his head in the closet, in fact insists that is his preferred position.  Not sure if it is her scent, or the laundry soap smell.  Doesn't look all that comfortable, but seems to be just exactly where he wants to be. 



Sunday, October 23, 2022


Fall has arrived here, must cooler weather no 110 to 115 degrees days, now seeing just some very nice high 80's in the late afternoons and even 50's first thing in the mornings.

I just finished the 10th month of the Garden Party Down Under BOM this last week.  I only have another panel to add to the left side.  That panel will be very similar to the one on the right and the two upper and lower blocks are done except for two vase blocks in the middle like the red and tan ones.  It should have a diamond border, but I have elected not put it on.  I would want to hang this on the wall, and the borders would just make it too big.  So by the end of this coming month it will be off to the quilters.
On the 13th of this month I took a bus trip to Santa Clara, Ca to attend the Pacific International Quilt Festival.  That's me far right next to that planter in the blue jacket.  Had a wonderful time looking at the quilts and of course doing some shopping at the vendors too.  
Naturally one has to do some serious shopping.  I purchased the 2 fat quarter bundles on the lower right to go with my Alex Anderson baskets project, but also stumbled on to the other prints.  They are Benartex fabric, just really soft and lovely prints and they went well with the Kaffe Fassett fabrics and at $7.35 a yard I purchased the 3 yard limit on 3 of them and the last yard on the 4th one.
I just could not resist these half yards, so cute for a child's quilt.
And, just some odds and ends of fabrics to stash in with my neutrals.
The only other purchase was this pattern.  It is not a large piece just 33 by 42, but after reading the directions it is a completely different process than I have ever done.  Plus I am going to need to do some serious fabric shopping for it. 


Sunday, October 16, 2022


This week finished up completely two projects; they are quilted and binding sewn on.  I promised last week to show them off.

The Flower Pot quilt, started in November of 2019, stashed it away until just early this year.  It has a place above my buffet in the dining room this spring.

Posy also finished up.  This was a fast project, I think it will be a Christmas gift for my youngest granddaughter.  

I love the quilting on this quilt.  That thread my quilter used and the pattern are just perfect.

This was a one day project for my grandson's girlfriend Kaitlyn.  My daughter called and said Kaitlyn has two jobs.  One at Starbucks and one at a local burger restaurant, could I make her a couple fun aprons.  The pattern I purchased was a nightmare, the directions were nearly none existent, but I struggled through it, and now have some easy modification to make the whole thing easier.  On to one in Christmas fabric. 

Since I have finished several quilts it is time to start something new.  Alex Anderson is doing an online class that started last week.  So I have all my fabric together and ready to go.
I purchased the pattern and fabric kit.  And yes added some additional fabrics from my Pacific International Quilt Show purchases.  On to that adventure on next week's post. 
Step one getting those basket handles done.  The first 12 of 36 needed.  Easy process and they do go pretty fast too.