Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thankful Thursday - December 30th

It is nearly time for the calendars to be turned to a new year!  Wow... What a year it has been.  I have much to be thankful for.  I already did a review of 2021... as well as a look forward to 2022.  

Christmas was a quiet day until 2 p.m. when our girls and the grand-children arrived.  Chaos ensued immediately!  The oldest boy promptly headed downstairs to lay down and close his eyes because of a headache, the two bigger girls had to be stalled distracted about opening gifts because of said headache and the baby was content to play with a coaster or anything else she could manage to grab.  

As Dave says ALL. The. Time... As much as we love to see the kids piling out of the car after they pull into the driveway, we love to see the cars backing out again. 😂

I had taken most of last week "off" and enjoyed not having tasks on the to-do list... other than enjoy the day doing whatever I wanted.  I made some outfits for the paper-doll quilts and some Potato Head felt shapes for the kids to play with on my design wall.

I loved the chance to spend one afternoon in the kitchen tryin out some recipes in my new appliances.  You remember???  The air-fryer and the quick pot?  I have come to the conclusion that they don't really save me time.  Salmon still has to cook in the fryer as long as in the oven... but the reheat feature for pizza is amazing!  And we like the french fries... It is staying and the deep fryer is gone.

The quick pot is the bees knees for making brown rice.  But, again, it is not any faster than cooking rice in the rice cooker or on the stove top.  It is, however, much better rice.  No more al dente rice!  The rice cooker has been kicked to the curb. 

I had purchased a whole chicken and wanted to try out the rotisserie feature of the air-fryer.  I'll not do that again.  LOL!  The chicken was good, but it made a mess that was not really worth it.  Though the rub recipe that I used on the chicken was really tasty, as was the sauce that I served with it.  I will use it again... but on a chicken in the crockpot.

I loved having the opportunity to be in the studio early in the morning.  I was making more of the foundation paper pieced double flying geese blocks to be fillers so that I can bring together an assortment of orphan blocks together.

I need to have a few more pinwheels or smaller flying geese or checkerboard units to finish filling in the blanks, but I love how this is coming together.

One last thing I am thankful for is YOU!  Yep, YOU.. the one reading this right now.  I thank you for your support and belief in me as a quilter, as an author, as a pattern designer... and a friend.

You have helped to enrich my life and my year to be all that it can be... BLESSED!

For the last several years I have had a focus word.  The word that continues to come to me for 2022 is SUCCESS.  More specifically, from 1 Samuel 18:14... In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.  

I have had an internal argument that it seems prideful... or boastful... I, myself, cannot measure the greatness of success.  Against what do I measure it?  Previous years?  Others?  

In the end, I have accepted the word given to me and know that my success in whatever I endeavor will be ONLY because the Lord will be with me.

Happy New Year!  May 2022 be a year to remember for all of the good things in life!


Linking with:


Monday, December 27, 2021

2022 Planning Party

 It is always good to have a plan... a plan helps to keep one on track (well, usually!)  Sometimes we make plans and God laughs...

Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl has an annual party encouraging quilters to look ahead and set goals.  As she said...  "I always start by reviewing my goals for the previous year."  I've done that in my Year End Review... You can read the whole story by following the highlighted link.  In short, I had five goals and I successfully followed through with three of them...

 Host a second sew along - Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail

Make a whole cloth quilt

Do some Quilt-as-you-go quilting

 Grow our Camping Journal Quilt

As I look to 2022...  I see a blank slate.  To be honest, there are many options and when I step back and look at them, I get a bit overwhelmed.

I keep considering hosting another sew along... yet I think I want to expand with the two that I completed this year.  I am partnering with a quilt shop in Raton, NM to offer a block of the month event with the Pieces From the Past patterns.  The owner also expressed interest in the Santa Fe Trail BOM when the Pieces from the Past is complete.

But I have so many unknowns... For those that have traveled to offer programs of this sort to quilting clubs and guilds, or for those that have booked/scheduled such programs...  

Where do I start?  

What things do I want to avoid?  How are fees/cost calculated?  And SO many more!  

All advice, suggestions and tips are welcome!  Ready...  Go!

Keep Piecing!


On a personal note... for the last several years I have had a focus word.  The word that continues to come to me is SUCCESS.  More specifically, from 1 Samuel 18:14... In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.  I have had an internal argument that it seems prideful... or boastful... I, myself, cannot measure the greatness of success.  Against what do I measure it?  Previous years?  Others?  

In the end, I have accepted the word given to me and know that my success in whatever I endeavor will be ONLY because the Lord will be with me.

Linking with:

2022 Planning Party at Quilting Jetgirl
To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Year-end Review & Best Of 2021

Hey there!  As we sit on the verge of another year fading away and the dawn of new year beginning, I thought I would take a look back at the highlights of the year.

I have been reading a book that contains letters of correspondence from Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the book, I read a statement made to Laura by her sister Carrie...

"You are always so busy doing, you never stop to see what you have done."

I thought it was quite profound and I hope that you will enjoy taking  a look back at some of the finishes and accomplishments of 2021...

The Pieces From the Past series was an on-line success with more 6,000 visitors/readers from regions all over the world, including North America, South America, the Middle East and Far East, the European Union, Russia, Norway, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, India and Australia and New Zealand.  More that 2,500 block patterns were acquired by nearly 400 participants.  My many thanks to everyone that participated and supported the series.  

It was such a success that a book that contains all of the letters, history, family stories, pictures and recipes has been compiled.  In cooperation with Patchwork Phoenix in Raton, NM, I will share the classic quilting blocks for a monthly Sew Along. Two quilt patterns can be picked up each month at Patchwork Phoenix.    

  New sew along in April - Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail  

This series was featured excerpts of Marion Sloan Russell's memoir, "Land of Enchantment".  Marion Russell is a distant relative... sort of.  She was the Mother-in-law of my Maternal Grandfather's Sister.... 

Marion made her first journey on the Santa Fe Trail in 1852 as a child just seven years old, with her Mother and brother.  It was the first of five trips on the trail and it grabbed hold of her soul and remained a deeply rooted part of her life and memories.

Whole-cloth quilt  My first whole-cloth quilt was made in 2013. It just didn't happen!  And honestly, I didn't have much time for quilts that didn't have a priority.   

Try some Quilt As You Go quilting  Again... it just didn't happen!  I had thought they would be good "traveling projects" but I didn't really need anything more because of the small EPP blocks for our Camping Journal Quilt...

  Continue with our Camping Journal Quilt.

Work on this project did continue.  I added 34 blocks to the top.  These represented the 6 trips and 17 nights of camping. 

Sadly, this was down from 2020.  Dave and I both had our businesses grow and found ourselves with a habit of too much work.  Not that either of us are workaholics working 18-hour days, but when there is work to be done, we do extra on weekends and give up the opportunities to get away and relax.  This hit us hard in September... it was messy and ugly... and uncomfortable.  We were both guilty of it and we had to get out of the RUT!

We had a trip planned and then cancelled due to bug, but we also knew that a family wedding was happening in October... It was a trip filled with driving, but the time with family was precious and the detour on our way home was invaluable!  Nine states in nine days... the acquisition of a John Deere tractor on the way, snow while we were in South Dakota, five tourist sites and three audio books... it felt good to get home, but we took advantage of the extended and warm Indian summer and went to a remote canyon in the midst of a National Grassland.

Top Five Posts...  The five most visited posts were connected with the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along (see pictures and link above), so beyond that series there were two several year old posts, Pieces of My Heart (announcing the release of my first block in a Quiltmaker's publication) and the sleeping couples quilt... (So do these really count???  Not really, I reasoned, since they are not from the current year).  

The remaining four spots were claimed by... 

#2 - Scrappy Placemats - a great scrap buster that recently distracted me one morning while Dave was out deer hunting.

#3 - A Thankful Thursday Post that included an announcement about my Pieces From the Past publication.

#4 - Pieces From the Past - There were several different posts from the series, so I lump them together... 

#5 was a post about a binding dilemma I faced in finishing the Santa Fe Trail quilt .  I shared my solution to being short of enough fabric to make a binding for the Santa Fe Trail quilt.  I thought it was clever... you may too!

Five Favorite Finishes...

Choosing a favorite quilt is a little like choosing a favorite child.  I've heard that many quilters feel their most recent finish is their favorite.  I have to say that kinda agree. LOL!

As I consider the quilts that I made this year, these are the ones that stand out... (in order of completion)

Hanna's giraffe - Pinky the Giraffe was completed in January.  It was ready and waiting (until April 28th) for Hanna's arrival.

Paper Doll Quilts was such a fun quilt to make!  The appliqued dolls can be dressed and re-dressed with different outfits and has a pocket to act as a closet for the dolls, holding the clothing items and shoes. :) 

Mini Chapel - This mini quilt is just 5"x7" and was a fun and quick distraction one morning.

Memory quilt ~ Remembering Mom - this quilt was made using some favorite dresses of a cousin's mother-in-law.  The customer chose the block design (not something I would have typically considered for a memory quilt), and I chose the fabrics from the clothing I was sent.  The secondary pattern of 9-patch blocks in the soft pinks allowed the center of the blocks to shine.     

Love Grows Here  was a wedding gift for our niece and her new husband.  We were thrilled to be able to deliver it in person and to be a part of their special day in October.

I have enjoyed getting my colour of the year report... 

My #yearofcolour for 2021 including Hoki, Buccaneer, Yellow Metal, Barley Corn, Pelorous, Golden Grass, Steel Blue, Persian Red, Purple Heart, Congress Blue, Pancho, Peach, Jacarta, Vanilla, Sorrell Brown, Bright Turquoise, Eucalyptus, Viola, Coral Reef, Sushi. Get yours at @yearofcolour

Peace was my focus word for the year... short of a time when "piece" took over and I felt that I was falling to pieces and lost "peace", I believe that I was able to stay calm and be present and positive despite some of the curve balls that were sent our way.  The source of peace was found when I stayed grounded in Scripture.  

Now that my review of 2021 is complete I turn my eyes toward 2022 and all that it will hold.  Great adventures lie before us and I am filled with excitement.  

Excitement for continued growth in our businesses and personally as a quilter and teacher.  

Excitement for our travels and camping adventures.

Excitement for time with our family and loved ones.

Excitement for LIFE! Living life is not just about reaching a destination or a goal. It is about the journey and the adventures we encounter along the way.  The lives that we influence, the paths that cross and the lessons learned... ALL of it makes life and who we are.  Live the best you can... 

"Be honest and truthful; make the most of what you have; be happy with simple pleasures, be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."
(this is another quote by LIW)

Is there anything you would add to this list?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay calm and live the best you can,


Linking with:

Year end review at Meadow Mist Designs
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Fun Christmas To-Do's

It is the week of Christmas... 

Our stockings have been hung, even Hanna's properly facing stocking.  The presents have been wrapped, the tree decorated and Dave and I are ready to enjoy a few relaxing days as Saturday approaches.

I'll be prepping as much of the Christmas meal as I can ahead of time, Lasagna, so that I only need to pop it in the oven to bake.  One daughter is bringing pasta sauce to make spaghetti, the other is bringing salad and garlic bread.  It doesn't really sound like a gluten-free and dairy-free meal, but trust me... we have found products that are suitable for our restrictions AND still tasty!

❧  If I have an hour or so, I will likely end up in the studio making some small decorations to add to the gifts...  I found the tutorial last year.  

I used some vintage buttons as the tree-topper. 💓

❧  I'll be writing up a year-end summary and linking up with a year end review as well as a look forward to some 2022 goals.

I'll leave you with a cute poem that I shared last year...

A Quilter's Night Before Christmas
(author unknown)

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made.
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stocking weren't hung, the pantry was bare.
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams.
Visions of Log Cabins, had turned into dreams.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese & Bear Tracks
Each quilt was a beauty-even the backs.

Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed.
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus, and checked the next address.
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distress.

She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight,
Happy quilting to all and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas,


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting

Monday, December 20, 2021

Disney Babies Grown Up Finish

I finished the custom memory quilt made with lovey blankets... **Happy dance, happy dance**  Here are a couple shots.  It was a beautiful sunny day so I pulled out the remnants of sidewalk chalks that I have hanging around and had some fun.

Each blanket came with a velcro closure to help hold the blanket around the baby and some of them had "characters" over them them.  My customer asked that they be included on the quilt, if possible, in some manner.  
Well, Of course I included them!

It required some hand sewing when the quilting was done... but I didn't mind at all!

I used a fun juvenile like print with butterflies, frogs and bees on it that had a bit of a texture as the backing...  It goes along with the tactile features of the front of the quilt. 

An all-over lattice quilting allows for the fabrics of the quilt to be the featured star of the show with the little characters sprinkled in for some fun!

As I stitched this quilt I recalled our own trip to Disneyland in 1998 and the trip to Disneyworld that our daughters were lucky enough to enjoy with their Girl Scout troop a few years later.  

Near the end of the day of our trip, when the light parade was to begin, we asked the girls if they wanted to see the parade or go ride more rides since there would be no lines.  They opted for the rides which was great fun!  We were the only ones on Magic Mountain and went multiple times in a row.  

Have you been to one of the Disney parks?  
Which is your favorite?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you.

Piece Out,


Linking with:  

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Christmas To Do List

As Christmas draws closer it could be easy to become frantic and crazy trying to get everything done... but what really NEEDS to be done?

To be honest, I have done most of the crossed out items on the list and can truly appreciate the "better choices" that are written in.  Over the years we have scaled back our celebrations and reduced our gift list.  Dave comes from a large family and a few years ago we decided to for-go the gift exchange for adults and pool our donations made to a charitable organization.  

One tradition we have not altered over the years is our Annual Christmas Newsletter.  An update has been sent out with a card since we were married in 1985.  In the early 2000s our lives were overly busy and I had declared that I needed help with the letter.  Since then each individual has written their "article" offering the update and highlights of their own life.  

I am ever so grateful that our girls, despite being in their 30s, have continued with this tradition.  It can be quite the undertaking trying to get all of what was written to "fit" into the document. Some sentences get cut or re-phrased to do so... As editor of the family newsletter, I offer a deadline for the submission.  Each year, like clockwork, our youngest quickly sends her contribution in.  Also like clockwork, our oldest gets her section submitted just before the deadline.  LOL!  

Last year she was late by a day.  Dave and I discussed our options.  Rather than leave her out, I started scouring her fb account for pictures from throughout the year to offer a "pictorial" accounting of their family.  She would have been fine with that, but it was nice to get her actual update.

 All that to say that our letter has been printed and envelopes will be hand addressed this evening.  (It started out with just the front of a page, soon after it was printed front & back of a page... and then extended to a legal size paper, front and back...  With Heather's family having 6 people to account for, she needed more "real estate" to share their lives. This year the letter has grown again... it is now on 11x17, front and back.  The printer stated that "I anticipate next year's letter having an insert".  I assured him "this is the final expansion."

Once the family letter is in the mail I'll return to last week's list...

✔  Write final installment for the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail sew along and get the last pattern written and tested (DONE - This will be published on Thursday, December 16th!)

✔  Meet with the local quilt shop about partnering for a block of the month event featuring the Pieces From the Past patterns (DONE - you can read about the details on last week's Thankful Thursday story)

❧  Finish the Disney Babies Memory Quilt
 (It sits right now 1/2 quilted and the binding has been cut and prepared.)  

It won't take long once I get back to the studio.  :)  Of course, if I hadn't become distracted with a DrEAMI project on Friday, it would be done.  🤷

I think we all know and understand how projects like these just cannot be ignored and you HAVE to get done.  You can read about the scrappy placemats by following the link above.

❧  Pull out decorations for Christmas (I hung up our stockings and the garland that holds the Christmas cards we receive.)

I saw a friend post the following... and I thought is was appropriate to share.  

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but here goes.  
You are not required to make a hand made gift for everyone you love every year.  I see so many of my friends becoming increasingly more frantic as the holidays approach, racing to finish gifts for their 37 most loved people.  It’s too much.  Give yourself a break.  

I stopped making Christmas gifts for family a few years ago, and it has been the best decision of my life.  

No one is entitled to a handmade quilt at Christmas.  Sure, it’s nice, but if you have made yourself unhappy and stressed, it wasn’t worth it.  My friends and family get quilted gifts when the spirit moves me, which isn’t at Christmas.  

If you are making yourself unhappy, stop.  Wouldn’t it be nice to give someone a surprise gift in February?  Or October?  Just because you made something and think they would like it.  Not because society appreciates makers only one time of year.  Or when they need us to be an unpaid mask making army. 

I love you all.  Have a wonderful holiday.

I hope that you are able to enjoy this season of celebration without feeling pressured or rushed.  Take the time to enjoy a cup of tea as you visit with a friend or family member.  Your presence will be more appreciated than your present.

Do you have any tips in surviving the hectic racing of the season?  

Leave a comment... I'm sure all of us would love to hear what you have to say.

Merry Quiltmas!


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch

Friday, December 10, 2021

A DrEAMI Friday - Scrappy Placemats

The morning started very early... 5:30 a.m.  While I am definitely a morning person, even that was a little early for me.  Dave was headed out with a friend to enjoy a very chilly morning watching the dawn come in as he waited for some deer to wander by.  Sadly, he only saw the sunrise and a few birds.

As I laid there in bed unable to go back to sleep my thoughts turned toward a scrappy project.  I prepped a single serving of "slow cooker overnight oats".  Have you seen one of those single serving crockpots?  Usually intended, I think, for a cheese dip or spinach artichoke dip.  I dropped in 1/4 cup steel cut oats, diced apples and dried cherries with some maple sugar and 3/4 cup apple juice.  I prepped a cup of hot chai tea and then went to my chair to enjoy some quiet time.

As I wrapped that up I considered what quilty project I would work on... The Disney Babies quilt is ready for quilting... but I had the idea (a DrEAMI project) that caused me to Drop Everything And Make It... I pulled out my scrap bin and some pre-cut 1-1/2" wide strips. I wanted to try my hand at making these placemats.  I found the double flying geese FPP pattern by doing a search on my favorite search engine.

I had planned on helping a friend learn foundation paper piecing back in September but it never worked out that our schedules meshed.

By 8 a.m. my studio looked like my scraps had exploded!  But I was having a great time and it didn't matter.  

When my tummy had a rumble in it I stopped to eat breakfast and the oats were perfect!  After a shower I returned to the studio...  

By afternoon I had to placemats pieced, quilted and with a scrappy binding from my scrap trims box!  The bias tape worked perfectly for the rounded corners...

My friend had wanted to make some placemats for her camper... she will be the recipient of these 100% scrap items.  They are just slightly smaller than placemats that might be purchased.  But, of course, campers are always a little more compact!  If she wants a few more, I will have still have the opportunity to give her a lesson!

Have you had a DrEAMI project lately?  

Leave a comment...  I'd love to hear from you!

Piece Out,


P.S. I'll be headed to bed a little earlier than normal tonight.  I'm tired!  😴

Linking with:

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thankful Thursday

Another week, and so much to be thankful for! 

#1 - Dave and I have some kind, thoughtful and generous customers, and every once in a while, our customers "cross-over".  I have had some loyal customers that trust me with quilting projects and trust him for their gun work/repair.  And vice-versa...

A few weeks ago one of his customers had mentioned that he had been cleaning out his parents' house (it may have been his grand-parents' house) and found some old bedding that had been made with cloth portland cement bags.  Dave casually mentioned to him that I would enjoy seeing something like that.  

This week I was asked to visit his shop because he had something I would want to see.  When I walked into the shop I saw that one of the "portland cement" bedding pieces, probably about 100 years old, was on the table.  

Paul comes from a long line of coal miners and, apparently, it was common for the miners to grab the empty bags and take them home for their wives to use.

I think most of us are familiar with the use of flour sacks, but this was one was new.

As we wrapped up our conversation and my admiration of the hand stitching holding this "sheet" together he said, "You can have this one.  I have several more at home."  How generous of him!

#2 - I had a meeting with the LQS located in Raton, NM, just over the state line from us.  The owner of the shop is excited and willing to partner with me for a sew along hosted by her shop.  

She has arranged for another book signing at the Raton Public Library that will also be the "kick-off" event of the sew along.  There will be two patterns offered each month, along with the letters, family stories and history lessons.  In addition to this info, I will share hints and tips for piecing the blocks.  Most of this info was included on-line in the posts as I published them, but because I could not include the patterns in the book, I eliminated those sections from the book.

#3 - I am ever so grateful for a reliable and gracious pattern tester that doesn't hesitate when I give her less than a week to try out a pattern that has to be published next week.  Thanks Gina from Gina's Custom Creations.  Her feedback on each pattern of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along Quilt has been invaluable!  Show her some love over on instagram if you have an account there.

With Christmas approaching quickly I am being cautious to not get caught up in the "commercialism" of the holiday.  We have no Christmas decorations up yet, but we have sent out all of our "business" Christmas cards and we are working on our annual family letter.  With fingers crossed, we will have it printed on Monday and in the mail on Tuesday... and THEN I can be concerned about the decorating.  Plans for our girls and their families to come here on Christmas Day have just been confirmed.  Woohoo!  

What are you thankful this week?  

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay Piece-ful,


Linking with:

Thankful Thursday at Not Afraid of Color