Saturday, August 26, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Zia Miller

Today I introduce to you Zia Miller.  She is a Southern Lady through and through and I have come to know her over the last few years as the friendship between her son & daughter-in-law, Jack & Jamie and my husband and I has grown closer.

My first "interaction" with Mrs. Miller was when a box arrived upon my doorstep via Jamie.  It was full of fabric, patterns and some unfinished - abandoned projects (some quilters would refer to these as UFO's (un-finished objects) or PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks).

You can read about some of those projects from 2015 at 

Rescued Stars 

When I contacted Mrs. Miller with a few questions about her quilts and quilting I got an honest and concise response from her...

"In kind respect to your time consuming project, I don’t quilt any more. That is the reason I sent you stuff and have more in the closet. Cutting mats under the bed, etc. but I still use those occasionally."  

She did very kindly answer a few questions - 

How old were you when you started sewing and who taught you?

I cannot remember not sewing and playing with fabric. I still have the doll quilt my maternal grandmother made for me and she died when I was 5. She was an accomplished seamstress and made quilts. By 4 or 5, I was embroidering as a summer activity. I had a “playroom” when I was about 7 with an oasis as I called it, including potted banana trees and a wash pot fishpond. This is when a loving friend gave me her mother's Golden Star treadle sewing machine. What fun! Before “electronic baby sitters”, people had time to play with and teach their children, etc. and my mother was truly my mentor both spiritually and socially.   

"I helped my mother using our family heirloom quilts, in many museum exhibits. I would read about a show so off we would go across the state and the country to attend quilt shows. Sometimes, we would stop at a house if we saw a quilt on the front porch or fence!!!  Rogers, Arkansas and that area was wonderful fun.

My projects were hand quilted. I really like the machine quilting but just never got around to buying a machine."

Zia shared with me that she owned a quilt shop in the 1980's and taught quilting; she judged many shows large and small; made and sold quilts; entered shows and won many blue ribbons and gave many programs. We will learn more about this next week in Part II...

Quilting is part of my past. Many quilts have come and gone. I have given a number of them to different family members and friends.  It is my nature to work like crazy for the “blue ribbon” so to speak.

Mrs. Miller is quite a busy lady and concluded her first message to me...

This is it for today. Working cattle and the cow crew are already working and I am “burning day light.” I still have a ranch to run and lunch to get on the table for 8 hungry men and same tomorrow. Again, thanks for thinking of me. Maybe I will box up some more stuff and send you someday.

I so greatly appreciate her taking the time answer a few questions... Next week I will wrap up her story.  Trust me... She is a multi-faceted lady!

Happy Quilting!


See what other quilters are talking about at QuilterBlogs

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's All About A Boy...

Just over two years ago our niece and her husband welcomed a bouncing baby boy...  It was a joyous day for them and his big sister, as well as the rest of the family.

As the birth announcement arrived, we (Dave & I) were apparently knee deep in something called life, and I failed miserably as the "aunt that showers all with quilts" and didn't get one made and sent to him.  

The even bigger fail was that it wasn't until his second birthday that I realized this!!!  I set forth with a mission to create a special quilt for Ford - All things boy was my goal...

Little Ford (actually, that should be big - over 10 lbs at birth!) shares the birthday of his Great-Grandma, Sandi Nolan, who passed away in 1995.

And because he shares the birthday with his great-grandma, and she loved and collected owls, one of the first blocks I made represents her.

His Mom (Jessie) shared with me that Ford has a special love for ducks... check.

I also know that his Mom loves dragonflies and ICE CREAM! (that is "we all scream for ice cream") - she needed to represented as well... check, check.

The family lives in Kenosha - "One of Kenosha’s most appealing features is public access to Lake Michigan. You won’t find highways or industrial buildings on the lakefront. Instead, the shoreline near downtown consists of miles of beaches, parks, walking trails, bike paths, and festival grounds."

Here are a couple pictures from our visit five years ago...

A lighthouse may have seemed obvious, but a sail boat seemed more appropriate for a little boy. 

I am certain that somewhere along the line  Ford will become familiar with Dr. Suess (if he isn't already)...One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish!  These little fish were inspired by Karen over at Tu-Na Quilts.  

His Grandma Hopp loves lady bugs... and they are supposed to bring good luck.

Ford's Great-Uncle Dave "once-upon-a-time" owned an orange truck... Jessie may remember that it was used for hunting - a lot!... so it became camouflaged. (Our girls loved to use it as a chalk board)  

As I write this, I realize the car in the quilt should have been a little Chevette - that is what Ford's Mom and Uncle were escorted around in by their parents when they little.  

But, seriously, what little boy doesn't love to play with cars and trucks??

The hot-air balloon, pin wheels and air plane are some traditional things that little boys enjoy playing with...

The Kite, as I made it, brought back to me the stories of Dave & many of his siblings... their Mom (Sandi) would occasionally tell them when they stated that they were bored to "Go fly a kite"... another nod to Great-Grandma. 😉

The pine trees were fun to add... Ford's mom, Jessie,  enjoyed camping.  There were numerous "family camp outs" that involved S'mores, dough boys and laughter.  Here is one of the "camp letters" we received from everyone after we had moved to Colorado from Illinois... Such memories!

And to wrap up this quilt, the backing features the character from Dora the Explorer, Diego.  Jessie & Jon met and were married in San Diego.  They even have a cat named Diego... It was meant to be!

Many of these blocks came from QuiltMaker magazine or their 100 Block publications... and some of them I just made up as I went along, based on the size of space I needed to fill, like the the fish blocks

So, there you have it... All things that a boy loves!  I hope that Ford will love them too!  All with a special story and memories that represent a few family members.

What sort of "boy blocks" would you include?  

Happy Quilting,


Linking up with The Inquiring Quilter

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Label It!

I have no Quilters Through the Generations "interview", but I do have a few in the works... Be sure to come back next week and see who is featured.  

As I have been waiting for future stories to come in this week I have been busy creating some special labels as a thank you to each of the featured quilters...

The primary reason I started this series was to document some of the stories and memories behind the quilts that I have so that someday... down the road... my children, grand-children and perhaps even my great-grand-children would have some history and stories to go along with the quilts they could someday acquire.

As I explained this to my husband a few weeks ago when he questioned why I was doing this series and in response to his "Can't they just read the label?"... 

Well, yes, if there IS a label... Most quilters from years ago did not label quilts, and even many of today's quilters don't label.  My mom has added a label to a few of  the quilts in her collection noting the quilter, the year (or an estimate of the year) it was made and who it was made for, as well as some personal comments.  But for the most part, the knowledge of the maker and the recipient get lost.  

Two of my cousins, Diane in particular, have been lucky enough for their mothers to document each quilt with a card or note that explains who the quilter was and who it was made for.  But not all of us are this lucky!

After purchasing codes from StoryPatches and and printing them with my logo on paper-backed fabric sheets, I have created some labels for each participant.  

My personal attempt at saving the stories of quilters and their quilts... one story at a time.

Do YOU have generations of quilters in your family and a story that needs to "saved"?

I would love to help document the stories for generations to come...

Happy Quilting!


Note - I have no affiliation with the products mentioned in this post.  I simply believe in their products and the purpose of them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Patterns vs Recipes

Since Mid-May I have been searching for and trying Gluten Free recipes...  my immune system required it and since making the major change (along with the other restrictions I already had in place) I do feel better...

Here is a quick look at what I am "allowed" - the column on the left...

Funny thing, how you don't even realize that you feel bad or off until you make a change and you realize then that you really do feel "better"!

For me, looking at recipes is like looking through a quilting magazine or pattern book.

You come across lots and lots of options, and every once in a while, you find something that you just HAVE to get/try.

In between all of my quilting and dress alterations, I have been recipe testing...

Some of the recipes that I have found as GF substitutions are border-line acceptable - like pizza crust - I have tried several - the results are mediocre, at best (yet the best I have found)... 

2 cups GF flour (I use 1 cup Brown Rice Flour and 1 cup Casava)
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon organic coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups hot water (110-120 degrees)

Mix dry ingredients together and add oil & water, mixing well.
Pat onto lightly oiled pizza pan with hands.
Bake in pre-heated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Add your choice of toppings.
Bake another 15 minutes or until the cheese and crust start to get golden brown.

What I HAVE discovered after using "this best option" is that while the pizza freshly baked is mostly acceptable, the left overs are much better.  I won't pretend to understand the "science" behind it, but it has crossed my mind to make the pizza, cut into slices, let cool and place it in the refrigerator for a day or two and then re-warm in the oven as a "real meal" (not left-overs).  What a hassle - and too much work!

So in the three months of following the restrictions as closely as possible, I was told that yes, my immune system is improving but that I need to continue with the restrictions and give my body more time to heal... **sigh**  

I had hoped that I would be able to add back in an occasional pizza or even a flour tortilla...

However, on the up side... I am improving, so there may be some hope!  

Also I learned that I am able to have Einkorn flour - all of the reviews state that it is a cup for cup replacement - without odd taste or smell!  YAY!  I have a two pound bag on order and have my fingers crossed that this is not just another "meh" option.

But until I actually try it, I will continue on with what I have bravely and successfully found.

Here are a few recipes - the "Best of the Best" and not even considered a "substitute" or "alternative", as quoted by my husband - 


Gluten-Free noodles - I used Brown Rice Pasta by Tinkyáda (I used straight from the box without boiling them.)

Marinara/meat sauce - use/make your favorite as you would for any other lasagna or spaghetti.  I prefer Italian seasoned ground turkey over ground beef

Cheese mixture -
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese (notice, not Mozzarella, as it is not "allowed".)
1 cup fresh shredded zucchini
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 eggs

Place a small amount of marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.  Place a layer of noodles, top with a layer of the cheese mixture. Add a layer of the marinara sauce.  Repeat layers two more times.  top with Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.


And for dessert...

8.5 oz Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks
1 C butter (2 sticks)
1 ½ C coconut sugar
1 C cocoa powder (sift for better quality)
6 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 

Break up the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt in microwave on low, stirring occasionally. When partially melted add the butter and continue to alternate heating and stirring until both are completely melted. Be careful to just melt and not overheat. When melted set aside for a few minutes and prepare pan.

Line the bottom of a 10" springform pan with parchment paper, grease the paper lightly and dust with cocoa powder.
Add sugar, cocoa powder vanilla and eggs to chocolate mixture and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake approximately 45 minutes or until cake is cooked in center. Test by touching center of cake lightly. It should feel "solid". Remove from oven and let cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cake cool somewhat and then glaze while still slightly warm. 

Glaze: ½ C Enjoy Life Chocolate chips (or chunks) and 2 Tbsp butter. Melt together and whisk til smooth and shiny and spread over warm cake. 

(**Recipe can be halved and baked in a 7" springform pan)

Well, there you have it... The recipes (patterns) I have found to be my favorites, thus far.  I have no affiliation with any of the mentioned "brand names" but have found that these are products that "fit within my dietary restrictions."

As far as favorite quilt blocks go, I just love log cabin blocks.

Do you have a favorite block?
How about a favorite recipe?
I'd love to hear what your favorites are... leave a comment!



Monday, August 14, 2017

Quilting... In My Sleep

What do you do when you awaken in the middle of the night and can't really get back to sleep...

This happens to me not very often, for which I am grateful, but when it does happen my mind tends to go my sewing room and quilting projects and ideas.

Recently I learned that a friend of ours is expecting soon and I knew that I wanted to get a quilt made and sent to her for the shower.  The shower is Saturday, August 12th.

But when other projects took precedence over making her quilt, I resigned myself to the fact that I would simply have to mail it to at a later date... **sigh**  

It was to this particular quilt that my mind wandered to in its sleeplessness/sleepiness that night...

I had pulled some fabric with little bears and the Beatitudes on it a few weeks ago thinking I would make a fabric book for our grand-daughter who just celebrated her first birthday.... I didn't get to the book.  

This fabric suddenly became the perfect item for Tiffany's baby quilt and the idea started developing in my mind... as soon as I had the plan solid in my mind, I drifted off to a content sleep.  

It was the next morning and I was ready to head to my sewing room... except that I really needed to be packing and gathering everything I need for my weekend away.  Such problems!  I convinced myself that I had all morning and could pack and gather after lunch...

I swiftly gathered the various solid fabrics I wanted for the alternating four-patch blocks and started cutting and stitching...

Before I knew it I had the top together!  

Yeppers... before lunch!  I had basically talked myself into taking my machine to the girls weekend, but when I mentioned it to Dave during lunch he replied "No you are not - that machine is grounded."

**Sigh** I shouldn't have said anything... 

I could have easily had it sandwiched, quilted and bound by the end of Friday evening and still had the remainder of the weekend to focus completely on my friends and our time together.

None the less, I set it aside, scrambled to gather all my "stuff" for the weekend and took off up the one of the local canyons to "Retreat, Rest and Relax".

It was well worth the short time away...

I returned home and to my sewing room on Monday morning and finished the quilt... It went off in the mail and was delivered in time for the shower.

Here is the beautiful Momma-to-be...

So... when you find yourself sleepless and the middle of the night, do you "quilt" in your mind?

Tell me what helps you get back to sleep... I love to hear from my readers. 

Happy Sewing!


See what other quilters are talking about over at QuilterBlogs

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quilters Through the Generations - Yvonne Fuchs

Today I move beyond my personal family and bring in a new family of quilters... I "met" Yvonne last year when I participated in the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers group.  She was of great help and support to all of the newer bloggers trying to get started and growing our audience in the "cyber-world".  Be sure to stop by her blog and take a look at the amazing modern quilts that she makes.  You will not be disappointed.

Yvonne (nee Jones) Fuchs [Quilting Jetgirl]

Have you ever made a quilt? Yes, I have made well over 200 quilts.

I got started when I was a sophomore in high school, my paternal grandmother offered to hand quilt a twin size quilt for me to take to college for my dorm room if I would piece a quilt top. My mother and I went to a quilt store, purchased the Card Trick "Quilt in a Day" pattern by Eleanor Burns, picked out fabric, bought a cutting mat and rotary cutter. It took us many months to put the quilt top together (I did most of the work and mom helped me decipher the instructions and gave me sewing pointers along the way). My grandmother did indeed hand quilt it for me in plenty of time. It ended up being the last quilt she hand quilted before passing away 3 years later. 

Does your mother quilt? 

Yes, my mother, Lorna Jones, is also a quilter. My mother did a lot of garment sewing when I was younger and the quilting bug nabbed her at pretty much the same time I began my quilting journey.

Here are two quilt projects that my mom and I worked on together. We made the blue and yellow log cabin in 2010 (made for a new baby in the family) and the quilt with hearts in 2011 (made for a new baby in a friend's family). We continue to collaborate for family projects: she likes to piece the tops and have me quilt them. These just happen to show us together with the finished quilts.
How about a grand-mother? 

My paternal grandmother, Ocie Jones, was a prolific quilter. 

My maternal grandmother, Nerine Schwichtenberg, helped my mom create two twin size quilts in the 70s and they tied them together for the quilting / finishing.

Have I taught someone to quilt? 
I worked with two young children to make them comfort quilts after their father passed away. In the end my idea of making something for them turned into me teaching them about sewing and quilting and was a wonderful experience. They both loved the quilting process the best: I let them quilt their quilts on my long arm!

I also am a quilting instructor and teach classes locally.

Why do I quilt? I quilt as a creative outlet, but my quilting honestly took off when my friends started having children. Making and gifting a quilt is such a universally appreciated act of care and love, and I can't think of a better medium to put positive energy out into the world.

Yvonne recently shared on social media about her Paternal Grandmother - Ocie Jones...

Quick hand stitching for this morning: repairing my gym bag. This bag is one of two physical items given to me by my paternal grandmother (the other is my first quilt that I pieced; she hand quilted it for me). I might not pick out this bag in a store if left to my own devices, but it is precious to me and I took the handful of minutes it took me to hand stitch the seam closed this morning to think of my grandmother and be grateful for what sewing and quilting has meant to me in my life. Thank you, Grandma.

 Every one of us quilters and sewing enthusiasts have someone to thank for taking the time to teach us how to sew... Have you said thank you?  

Feel free to leave your "Thanks" in the comments... 
I'd love to hear your stories of how you learned.

Happy sewing!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quilters Through The Generations

Today I am excited to reveal a "logo" for my Quilters Through the Generations" series...

I have an awesome Brother-in-law that is a graphic designer that helped me out.  So, a HUGE shout out to Chris.  Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

And without further delay....

I Love It!

I will be "leaving my family tree" for the next quilter, but rest assured, she has a great story and there are plenty of quilters in her tree.  

Be sure to come back on Saturday!


Is YOUR family full of quilters?  
I would love to share their stories... 
just leave a comment below stating so and I will sent you my "Interview Sheet" - be sure to leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Through the Generations - Diane Ashton

Today I Introduce another of my cousins, Diane Ashton.  Our family trees converge at the branch of our Great-Grandmother Lala Teegarden.

And though Diane is not a quilter, she has plenty of history, story and talent to share...

 "Basically, I don’t quilt.  I have friends who do and took a class years ago from one of them!  And I haven’t taught anyone to quilt.

But I've done a lot of sewing - starting with doll clothes when I was 7, making most of my own clothes with Mom, including my wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, baby clothes for my babies and fun little boy coveralls, shorts and jackets for my sons.

I remember Grandma (Luna) Weller teaching me to sew on her Singer treadle sewing machine.

After I was paid at my first job, Dad took me to a pawn shop on Larimer Street, LoDo in Denver, CO to buy my first sewing machine! I learned and shared Mom's joy about fabric, colors, prints, textures and the whole creative process. She'd often show me the fabric ideas she had for quilts, other craft projects, and of course, clothes!"

"My Mom- Maxine Ashton- both quilted and collected quilts; My Dad- Russell Ashton- assisted with collecting!" {Diane has 49 quilts}

Russell not only assisted with the collecting, but encouraged the quilting...

Double Wedding Ring Quilt made from a kit given to Mom from Dad. The Quilt was pieced by hand by Maxine on many Steamboat/Maui trips. The piecing, putting together, quilting and binding was finished by Mom's Brown Bag Quilting group, Central Christian Church, Denver, CO, 2010, after Mom died. An honor for them and our family.

Red Machine Quilt Flower Garden Variation- Mom (Maxine) made these machine applique blocks and set them into a top, late 1970's. Mom says: "When it became apparent that I would never get it hand quilted, I sent it to a lady in Kansas to have it machine quilted- I love it!" (All applique is in red- Mom LOVED Her colors!)

Navy Blue Four Patch-with a close up. This is a very large Quilt! Mom pieced the top together at various trips to Steamboat Springs, CO, during 1981. She planned the colors to go with the decor in a bedroom in the family home as a spread. She finished quilting it 2/1997, bound it in 2000. Mom stated "Every stitch is mine!" It was with her when she died 10/8/2007. Again- she worked magic with colors!

Pink Hearts and Flowers made by both my Mom and her mom, Luna T. Weller (pictured below). Fabrics were selected and matched by Luna Weller, 1930s, from her and Mom's dresses. Mom cutout the plain fabric and appliquéd the blocks, mostly in Hawaii. Luna had cut out all the print fabrics. Mom set it together with pink sashing "because all homes in 30's and 40's had a pink bedroom in them! And Mom would've set it together with pink." Quilted by a church friend and finished 1991.

(You may remember another quilt like this from Carol's story...)

As my cousins have been collecting photos and stories for me to include in this series, Mae made a visit to Joan (we haven't heard from her yet).  Joan had located a collection of butterflies ready to be appliqued onto muslin squares.  Joan was unsure of where the butterflies came from, but Mae happily offered to take them and do something with them.  

When I began receiving the photos and stories from Diane this photo was included...

Butterfly Quilt blocks were completed by Luna T. Weller in 1940's after she moved from Wray, CO to Denver, CO. It was then quilted by friends at First Christian Church in Wray. Grandma W. gave it to Mom in late 1970's and Mom bound it.

I was so excited to be able to share with Mae about this butterfly quilt... Mae then shared with me that she had already started on the butterflies she took home with her...

It would seem obvious that Luna was the originator of the collection of butterflies. How exciting that a piece of mystery has been solved.

Do you have a favorite quilt from your Mom's collection?

Yes, One of my favorite quilts is the Sunbonnet Baby Quilt Grandma T. gave to Mom for HS graduation. Sunbonnet Babies were Mom's favorites- she collected 4 others!

Another quilt favorite of mine, is one Mom designed with a Hawaiian quilter artist- it's a flower garden pattern with 12 Hawaiian flower Quilt blocks, hand quilted with Hawaiian-style quilting, representing the ocean waves.

When Mom designed this Quilt, she specified which Hawaiian flowers she wanted represented. She loved the floral beauty of the islands and the history of Hawaiian quilting. I've not been able to put my hands on her note that details the flowers, however, I know the jade green block (lower left corner) is pineapple and jade green block (upper right corner) is breadfruit (ulu). The Quilt was cut, appliquéd, put together and quilted by an Hawaiian artist in Hanalei, Kauai, HI 5/1984-1/1985.

Each flower is cut from one piece of fabric.

Note the amazing, narrow quilting around each flower! One of my favorites.

Did anyone from your Dad's side of the family quilt?

Yes, this Antique "Ohio Star" a part of Russell Ashton's family estate; top put together by my great-great- great grandmother. My great-great, Cora McClelland Ashton Hepperly, was born 9/9/1883 Butler, Indiana. The Quilt was put together and quilted by Mom's quilting group (Brown Bag Quilters), Central Christian Church, Denver, CO, 7/1988.

It's put together with small, brown gingham!

So, though Diane is not a quilter, she like my Grandma Teegarden, Tressie, picked up on other hand-work...

I've done a lot of embroidery-taught by Mom and Grandma - decorative, crewel projects and counted cross-stitch, currently. I've made counted cross-stitch birth samplers for all of my grandchildren, nieces, nephews, over the years.

I remember both Mom and Grandma Weller often had a bag where they kept their "hand work"- Quilt blocks, crocheting, you name it! Mom carried hers with her wherever she went- she was always stitching!

Grandma Weller was a tatter. I have a collection of felt Christmas ornaments that are decorated with tatting. She spent time with me showing me how to tat using a spool and needles.

Fabric - shopping for it, saving it, reusing it, matching it, choosing colors and patterns and planning its use, were all huge parts of my growing up and learning!

Many, many thanks to Diane for sharing her story... and many thanks to you taking the time to read this story.

Remember, you don't have to be a expert quilter. You just have to have a passion for quilts - much like Diane's dad, Russell Ashton, be an encourager and perhaps a collector.

Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made or received?
I'd love to hear from you...