Tuesday, February 27, 2018

AQS Christmas Countdown Blocks - A Tuesday Tutorial

In December I had the cRaZy idea to join in on not just one, but TWO Christmas Countdown Block sew-alongs...

Moda offered 6-inch blocks and AQS offered 4-inch blocks.  By the end of the sew-along I was feeling pressured because I had fallen behind and those darn 4-inch blocks were sooooo TINY!  

I did manage to get caught up and then quickly threw the two bags of pieced blocks in the closet and moved on... yet every time I went into my closet I would see them and think "what in the world am I going to do with these blocks?"  

I considered making a layout that would incorporate both sets, but could never "see" in my mind's eye a good layout for them.

In the wee hours one morning as my mind was awake, but my eyes not, the thought of an Advent Calendar with pockets made from the 4-inch blocks floated to the top.  Brilliant!  

After letting the idea "gel" for a few days, I pulled those blocks that caused me so much frustration and stress with the itty-bitty pieces (some as small as 1/2" finished) and grabbed some white flannel from my stash to make the pockets and background.

I sewed 1/4-inch seam on three sides and then turned them

I then prepared my backing and batting and did a "quilt as you go" method by placing the 6-inch top row of flannel and pockets on it...

I placed second 6-inch row on top of that and stitched a 1/4" seam along the bottom edge, pressed it open and repeated until I had all five rows stitched down.

Once all the rows were sewn in place, I stitched the sides of the pockets down and trimmed the whole thing up and did the binding.  

I made a hanging sleeve on the back of the wall hanging so that it can easily be hung on the wall ready to present the daily surprises that are contained in the pockets.

The options are really endless.  You can include some sweet treats, or Scripture cards that tell the story of the birth of Jesus. With the Scriptures you could include portions of a Nativity scene.

One fellow quilter shared... My older children do the Jesse Tree, so I put the daily reading cards in the pockets with either that day's ornament if we have one already, or the things to make that day's ornament with. The youngest wanted something more like her friends in 2017, so she made her own advent and I filled the pockets with Bible themed quizzes, and the pieces to make a nativity finger puppet set.

Another suggestion was to make cards for each day with fun things to do. They could be self-care, kids activities, creative explorations, art prompts... You get the idea.

It was fun. And it can be useful. And now I have to wait 9-1/2 months until it can be used by someone!

I am now ready to do something with the Moda Blocks! But what??? I haven't been inspired in the early dawn yet for those. I think they will have to wait just a little longer.

What do you do with your blocks from the various challenges?  

Quilts? Table runners? Or????  

Let me know!  I love to hear from my readers. It may look like I don't respond to the comments, but I do!  It just takes place via a private e-mail (unless you are a no-reply blogger.  If that is the case, I reply here on the blog.)

Sew Happy!


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blue Plate Special

Maybe it is because it is February and my Grandma's birthday falls in this month...  

Maybe it is because she passed away just a few days after her birthday 10 years ago... This would have marked her 103rd celebration.

But the February Challenge Block caused memories to flood back to my mind...

Back to 1973...

this photo was taken last year when I went to the Tucson Quilt Show...

As I pulled fabric and pieced this block I kept wandering back to her house in Tucson...  to the trips we made there during the summer... the smells as I entered the back door and passed through a breezeway that she used as an office and painting room (she was an artist)...  the texture of the flooring as I went through the french doors and entered the dining room of the house (the wood floors with an area rug)...

Straight ahead was her china cabinet filled with stuff that was off limits to children... I don't really recall exactly what was in there other than a few sugar eggs decorated fancily with icing that dried like cement.  The eggs had Easter scenes inside them.

On the wall above the china cabinet hung a collection of plates in shades of blue.  There was a set of four, representing the four seasons...  These are not hers, and not exactly what hers looked like, but you get the idea, right?

And this Challenge Block takes me there... 

You may have noticed that I reversed the dark and light blocks... 

I have said it before, I say it again... I have a difficult time following a pattern exactly as directed.  No shame here!  I have to let the artistry flow!  I guess I may have a touch of "artist" in my blood from my Grandma T.  Not a bad thing... 

Are you one that welcomes challenges and changes?  
Are you a quilter that follows a pattern exactly?  
Or do you look for ways to make a twist to it to make it fully yours?

Leave a comment - I love to hear from my visitors!  
btw, I respond to comments via a private e-mail.  
So, while it may look like I don't reply here on the blog, I really do!  
I will reply to no-reply vistors here on my blog.

Quilt happy!


You can find me here too:

Linking up with Patterns By Jen

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Echoes & Reflections

When I saw the pattern from Shannon Fraser Designs for her Reverberance Quilt I just knew that I had to make it.  I love, love, love log cabin blocks and this one was no exception. 

With the variation of the log widths I chose to use deep, rich solid (or primarily solid) fabrics for the narrow logs and print fabrics for the wide logs, much as her pattern suggests and I pulled many of the same fabrics I had used in my Amish inspired quilt a few years ago.  

The Amish communities have a strong belief in tradition.  Echoes of their past seldom change...

The wider logs in the prints reminded me of ripples in a pond where the reflections of the surrounding landscape can become distorted and difficult to make out. 

I like that the quilted feathers offer this very effect...

So, there you have it... Echoes & Reflections.

I made this quilt entirely from my stash and enjoyed the time of making the quilt. It went very quickly!  When I was ready for the binding I went with a scrappy binding using the remaining fat-quarters (they are also the first two wide logs of the quilt).   They feature dragon flies and lily pads and were a gift from my friend, and fellow quilter/blogger, Karen Thurn.

Karen and I had participated in the Cloud 9 blog hop in 2016 where we were challenged to design an original block.  Her block featured a cone flower and mine was a dragonfly, and we are both in agreeance that the two blocks together in a quilt would be stunning, but we may be a little partial. 😄

Reverberance is an excellent pattern for a beginning quilter, and feel that it would be really fun to lead a class using this pattern...  If you love Log Cabin blocks as well and just HAVE to have this pattern, head over to Shannon's and purchase it!

And if you happen to be a first time visitor, I hope that you will spend a little time here and get to know me by taking a look at my about me page and my Gallery.  I hope that you will choose to come back!  You can suscribe (in the margin), join me on Bloglovin' (also in the right margin) or catch me on facebook or instagram.

Are you a log cabin block lover?  
If not, what is your favorite?  
Leave a comment and let me know.



Linking up with:  
Wednesday Wait Loss at the Inquiring Quilter

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Quilters Through The Generations - Peggy McGee

Peggy McGee is an ambitious and outgoing person.  She is involved in many groups and organizations but she manages to slow down and find time to quilt and knit.  She utilizes her skills that she learned at a young age…

Tell us about how you learned to sew? 

I learned to sew when I was in 4-H first and then in home economics in high school. 

 I was able to make simple items for the County Fair. We lived in town so we didn’t have any animals to show but we sewed, baked, canned and knitted.  I even won several ribbons. I still knit and make canned peaches since they’re my husband’s favorite.

Peggy is on the right.

Tell us a story about your first quilt.   

The first quilt I made on my own was between 1980 and 1985 when I took a class with a co-worker. It was at a local woman’s house and the students were asked to pick a simple pattern so I selected a rail fence which I did in pinks and blues. I still have it and it is on the back of my sofa and used during the cold winter months to stay warm while watching tv.

I remember one woman picked a diamond shaped block which wasn’t easy or simple. Everyone else finished their quilts but this woman was still working on the piecing while we were finishing our quilts. This quilt doesn’t have a binding as we sewed the back, front and batting together and turned the quilt right-sides out.
Not too long after the class I got the “bright” idea to make Quillows for friends and family. They were made with polar fleece and flannel sewed together and turned with a pocket added so the quilt could be folded and turn inside out to fit into the pocket and place on a sofa or bed. The folded quilts looked like pillows. While each one was easy to make as usual I over-committed and probably made a couple of dozen for different people within a 2-month period. I even was crazy enough to let people pick the fabrics and I would do the sewing. I didn’t charge for my time and I have never made any more.

Does your mother quilt?

While I was growing up my mother, Martha Barnes, was too busy to quilt. It wasn’t until she was forced to retire in her 70s that she had the time so she made a quilt for her bed. She also made curtains and pillow shams to match. She sewed all the time.   She worked in a dry cleaners and did alterations and repairs every day. Even after she retired she still did the alterations for different people.

My mom lived in Kansas but would take a vacation every July and come to Colorado for a visit. Almost every time, the first thing she wanted to do was go to the fabric store and pick out a pattern and fabric and make me some clothes while she was here. She said it was relaxing to be able to make something from the beginning. She didn’t do easy things either, I remember she made a lined jacket which I wore in the summer to show horses. How crazy were we to pick a heavy corduroy and line it to wear out in the sun during the summer months? Of course, I never thought about buying a light-weight jacket for the summer and wear hers during the winter months.

Alchie, my maternal step-mother, was always making quilts and doing many other crafts. She was able to knit and crochet, she did tole painting, and Chemi-Art, etc. She taught me to knit and crochet during many of my summer breaks from school. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my grandmother. Looking back I now realize my sister and I were basically free summer labor and our mother didn’t need to hire a baby-sitter. We got to “help” weed her large garden, feed all the animals (chickens, geese, turkeys and other exotic birds), bottle feed calves and piglets. They also had barn cats and kittens which didn’t play well with children who only wanted to catch them and put them in a bag and drag them around. I’m sure you get the picture of what happened when we open the bag.

My grandmother had a large living room/dining room combination in her house and she always had a quilt on a frame. It was pushed up against the wall unless she was hand-quilting. It was like a piece of art. I was even allowed to quilt a small portion one summer. What a great experience.

The first summer after my father died a neighbor who had kids the same age as my sister and I watched us while my mom worked. She belonged to a quilting bee at her church who hand-quilted for others. While they worked on each other’s’ quilts they also quilted for the community. The funds were then used to support their various mission projects. I can remember going to the church with my favorite toys and playing under the frame while the ladies visited and quilted. It was great fun and we got cookies and Kool-aid.

How many quilts have you made? 

I’m not sure about the number but would guess 10-12. And sadly, I have not taught anyone to quilt.

Do you have a favorite block? 

My favorite quilts to make are jelly roll race quilts (like the one to the left and below) but I also enjoy the 9-patch because it is quick and easy and can be made from jelly rolls.  I love to buy them on sale after the season.  I have rolls of Christmas fabric, Halloween, springs, batik, etc.

Do you have a favorite quilt? 

I love the Texas Star quilts but my skill level is not at a point where I feel comfortable making one for myself.   I’m always looking at different techniques and patterns so I’m sure sometime in the future I will be making one for myself.   

Do you participate in any quilt groups? 

Yes, I am in several groups. The biggest is Piecing Partners which has a couple hundred members and meets the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the Elks Club in Colorado Springs. I enjoy the speakers and learning about their quilts/techniques. I keep telling myself “someday” I will take a class. They also have a library of books as well as a “put and take table” where you can get small piece of fabric and some patterns. We always have show and tell so we can see a large variety of quilts.

There is a monthly sewing group at my church where several women get together to sew whatever project they want. Some make quilts while others are making clothes or household items. It's so fun to see what everyone is working on and to get help or support.

My friend and I also go to Wilson UMC to a small group of women who get together to show and tell their quilts and other projects. We can compare notes on what works and what doesn’t. This is where I learned about flange binding and mitered binding.

I recently bought a longarm quilting machine so I have just joined a longarm quilting group. The group only started in November and we have only met a couple of times but the purpose is to share ideas and resources. We also want to go to different members homes to see the different machines and how different members run their businesses.

Have you entered any quilt competitions or sold a quilt? 

No, I haven't done either... I just quilt for my own satisfaction. I have not sold any of my quilts but love to give them to friends and many charities. I don’t want to have a trunk of quilts which no one uses or sees. If someone tells my they have my quilts in storage, no more quilts for them—I would rather they use them and need a new one because it fell apart.

I have taken some simple scrap quilts, like the one shown here, to the longarm as practice.  They were given to charities. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I subscribe to a couple of quilting magazines and I like to get books from the local library.  I also look on Pinterest for examples of the same patterns.  I try to go to a couple of quilt shows to see new products and other quilts.  There are many talented quilters out there.

What is your favorite part of quilting? 

Getting inspired and creating my own version of patterns.  I love putting my own twist on a classic pattern. 

Why do you quilt? 

I love the end product and it gives me an outlet for my nervousness.  It’s a time to slow down and focus on a single task.

What do you do with your quilts? 

I still have several which are on my beds though out my home.  My mother I made quilts and curtains for a vintage trailer I have been restoring (this is another of my passions).  

I have several quilt tops made by my grandmother which I would like to finish. I also like to repair or finish partially completed quilts. I have done a couple now and am working on one my grandmother gave me in 1972 or 1973. She overstuffed it with poly-fill and it is well used and needs a new back and had several wedges missing. Old clothes make great quilts but don’t always wear well.

I am a quilter much like Peggy in that when I give my quilts to family or friends, I give them with the intention that they are used... I refer to them as utilitarian quilts.  

And it makes sense that quilts made from clothing of a loved one or "upcycled" fabric may not last as long.  I had never considered that... Thanks Peggy for pointing this little tidbit out to me!

Do you give quilts as gifts?  
Do you prefer utilitarian quilts?  
Or Heirloom quilts - you know, the look, but don't touch quilts?

Leave a comment below.  I love to hear from my readers...

Quilt Happy!


Monday, February 12, 2018

Scraps Of A Different Sort

This past weekend was a quieter than normal weekend since my husband was off having fun in Arizona.

I have missed him terribly!  But I enjoyed re-living the entire weekend of our youngest daughter's wedding as I worked on a scrapbook for her.  

Saturday night's weather included a storm that brought 6+ inches of snow, and canceled church...  

As I shoveled the sidewalks Sunday morning, and a portion of the driveway, I kept thinking "This is snowblower worthy and here I am with just a shovel!  I wonder how the snowblower works..."  

Upon my return inside I grabbed my photos and other items from 2015...

Yes, I am three years behind!  Don't judge... Have you seen the many quilts that I made?  I have been lagging behind in our personal photo albums and this is the time to get caught up!

As I organized 2015 I thought "I don't have many pictures. I wonder why."  I have Emma (our granddaughter) and quilts and our trip to Sun Valley, Idaho.  And  then I scrolled through facebook posts from that year.  It really was an uneventful, non-photo worthy year... My Mom had double knee replacement in May, so April through October was not documented in pictures. Except for Emma's first birthday in August! Well, there was one picture of the incision on Mom's knees, but who wants to see that??? 

I zipped through to September and am ready to tackle  our vacation to Idaho.  As I sorted pictures, it was helpful that I had shared the journey here on my blog.

It is Monday Morning and I am motivated to get caught up!  My goal is to get through all of 2015 by the end of the day.  By which time I will be ready to pack up the remainder of 2016 and 2017 and all the scrapbooking supplies and set them back in the basement... until next time.

As I have spent the weekend reminiscing, I have also been thinking of possible quilting projects.  I think I may be ready to re-visit the Christmas Sew-along blocks... 

Tell, me what motivates you?  

Do you set daily or weekly goals?  

Do you find that your goals and expectations are set too high, too low or just about right???

Leave a comment and let me know!  

I love hearing from my readers...

Happy Scrapping!


Linking up with
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love, Laugh, Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Moving It Forward at Em's Scrap Bag
Pieceful Sunday at JANDA Bend Quilts
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

Monday, February 5, 2018


Another quilt was started with the message...

"You don’t happen to have any kids quilts for sale or working on soon."

My response was I am always able to make something! I reviewed some fun choices of fabric that I have in stock (hot air balloons, frogs, trains and playful nautical)...she chose "Playful Nautical".

As I considered pattern and block options I kept coming back to sail boats and pinwheels.

The hunt for a sail boat pattern proved to be much more challenging than I had figured.

I got a bit distracted...

My pattern and magazine collection seemed to have grown to the point of running out of room... Everything was layered two deep (as well as a stack in the closet) and it was impossible to see what was in there!

I pulled everything out, organized the magazines by publication date and put them in their own expandable folders and moved them to a filing cabinet in the basement.

But in that process I uncovered a treasure!

I'm not sure if it is a block pieced by my Maternal Grandmother (Tressie Teegarden) or if it is another stray block that was my Paternal Grandmother's (Katherine Schleich).

After the brief distraction, I then was able to organize the books. Now, I know that the books are still two deep, but I can see what is actually back there! For the most part any way. ;)

All the while, I kept opening the books and magazines looking for sail boats. I located the layout I wanted in a Quiltmaker magazine from 2013, but needed to make a few adjustments to get the quilt a smaller size. Instead of 12 inch and 18 inch blocks

I used 12 inch and 8 inch blocks - of different styles.

I used white flannel as the background fabric in the blocks. The thought that the flannel may shrink more that the cotton fabric crossed my mind...

I am not a pre-washer of quilting fabric so I was not overly concerned and quickly moved on...

I pieced four pin wheels and the border and got it quilted in a jiffy!

I quilted waves into the  sashing strips and the borders. All while I was singing "Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirates life for me!"  **giggles**  

So, another quilt done and an additional empty spool... and no worries about the flannel shrinking too much or the reds bleeding -  it all turned out just fine.  Whew...

Time for a new project.  Hmmmm... I wonder what I can find to do?  I may pull out something from my 2018 goal list... Or maybe some improv quilt art... or some secret sewing... or the February Color Challenge block... 

Well, you'll just have to come back to see!

What are you working on?  
I'd love to hear from you...
leave a comment below to let me know.

Happy Quilting,


linking up with: 
Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Moving It Forward at Em's Scrap Bag