Sunday, December 31, 2023

A New Year's Sew and Tell Party

Happy New Year!  We have grandchildren with us (we are outnumbered! Send help 🤣) and very little time to share details about what we are doing, so, for your entertainment, here's the link to my Year End Review and 2024 Plans.

This week's feature is a curved log cabin from Elena at That Fabric Feeling.

I offer my thanks from the bottom of my heart for all of you that have been faithful in joining the weekly party and follow along in my life's journey.

I'll catch you up in a few days.

Keep piecing,


Linking with:


Saturday, December 30, 2023

Best of 2023 & Year-end Review, 2024 Planning Party

As the year draws to a close, I wanted to review the highlights and progress of the year.  G
oals that I had for 2023 were:

❤  Make "quilted hearts" and spread a trail of love as we travel and camp. To date, 58 hearts have been released into the world.  Sadly, none of them have been "reported".  My husband said, "it's because you leave them in up on mountains, hilltops and remote trails."  LOL!  Well, perhaps there is that. 

❤  While it wasn't an official goal, but a challenge I stumbled upon while perusing through Instagram, I enjoyed the 52-week Mini Quilt Challenge.  There were never any "rules" that I saw, but most of my mini quilts ranged in size from 3"x5" to 5"x7" with a few 6-inch minis sprinkled in.  I used multiple orphans and tried new techniques and ideas.  Some resulted with fabulous results, and others were merely "just ok."

❤  As I tidied up my studio last year, following several months of illnesses, I found an extra jellyroll and pattern book for such an item.  I stitched up two quilts during a few snowstorms.  They were lovely and both found new homes this year. 

👀  The laser light that I received in my Christmas 2022 stocking has been used a few times, but I have not found that I "can't live without it" tip or technique.  As I get time, I will give another try.

❤  I was successful in getting my Pieces from the Santa Fe Trail sew along compiled into a book.  I held a book signing event at the local library as the local "Santa Fe Trail Days" celebration kicked off.  I also presented at the Heritage Center in Boise City, OK.  

❤  As I considered another on-line sew-along event, I opted to take a pass.  I was never able to develop an idea that I was really excited about.  I have learned that if your heart is not in it, it is evident, and others fail to get excited as well.  

I did, however, continue hosting my weekly Sew & Tell party.  It has grown to have an average of 15 participants.  

❤  I was blessed with the opportunity to finish 11 quilt tops for others and numerous t-shirt quilts and orphan block projects, bringing the total finished quilts to nearly 30 for the year!  When you get to do what you love for your job, it is rarely "work".  Which is why I am able to still enjoy all of the small projects I took with me as we traveled and unplugged.  It was something that I was able to do to rejuvenate my creativity and it was FOR me.

The most popular blog posts were as follows:

#1 - Create for Joy featured mini-quilt #35/52

#2 - Whimsical Wednesday featured some fancy quilted hearts

#3 - Therapy in the Studio featured my granola recipe

#4 - Wayward Wednesday featured a quick little bag that was just too fun for many to resist the temptation of making.  I'm not saying go check it out, but if you do, be warned... it is a DrEAMI NOW project.

#5 - An Angel & Her Wings ~ When I received the news that a HS friend had committed suicide, I felt compelled to create a mini-quilt, #16/52, in her memory, inspired by a photo that she had shared on social media. It resides with her loved ones on display in their home. It was healing for me to be able to express my love for her when words would not come.

As for my personal favorite finish for the year...  

The quilted wall hanging of a local landmark, Simpson's Rest, that was commissioned by a customer challenged me and helped me to grow as a quilter and artist.

The sandstone bluff is home to the "TRINIDAD" sign and the final resting place of George Simpson.

So, how did I do? All in all, very well.

The focus scripture for me was from 1 Corinthians 7:32 (The Message)

I want you to live as free of complications as possible. 

We did well with this focus.  When we began to feel that we were stuck in a rut, we would take a few days to unplug from the world, find a remote campsite and relax.  We would evaluate, nap, enjoy walks, sleep 10-12 hours at night, laugh, talk and read.  We would always return home refreshed and ready to get back to our routines.

As I followed the Read the Bible in a year chronological plan with my daughter, and started considering what the Lord might have for us in 2024 I felt joyful anticipation.  There are many things we have been praying for and striving for... and then I read this in Romans 8...

This life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!  ... the joyful anticipation deepens.

As I look forward to plans for 2024, I really do feel a joyful anticipation.  A few things I am hoping to see come to life are:

❧  Taking my Pieces from the Past and Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail programs on the road.  I'll be developing a mailing list of those that participated in the on-line sew along events as well as quilting groups that are within a 3-4 hour radius from our location, Trinidad, Colorado.  Would you be interested in having me visit your group?  Let me know, we can make plans!

❧  I'll continue with my custom quilting and t-shirt quilts... I have 4 in que, two for customers. I will also continue leaving a trail of love from my quilted hearts.

❧  With my fingers crossed, I think I may be able to complete our Camping Journal Quilt.  This year I completed two borders that included at least 55 different blocks, including a sign for each location and a block for each night's stay. (I've kinda lost count and I am a little behind...) We made many memories on our journey and Shelby has approved of every one of them. LOL!

❧  Since I am anticipating a down-size and move for Mom in the spring, I am certain that there will be a significant amount of time taken up with that and that it will likely take away some time from my studio.  But since I rely upon my therapy sessions in the studio, I'll have to make certain that I am still creating and finding joy in life.  

Thanks for joining me for the 2023 Review, Top 5 and Planning Party!  But before you go, tell me...

What do you do to maintain a proper balance in life?  
How do you refresh and restore when you are feeling in a rut?

I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,


Linking with:


Friday, December 29, 2023

Wonky Star Toss ~ Final Finish of 2023

I did it!  I was able to squeeze in on final finish for the year!

This wonky star toss quilt was an Advent mystery sew along from Melanie Meyer...

I love the variety of sizes, the layout and the fact that I made it completely scrappy was a bonus!

Even the back got a wonky star and used larger scraps

I love how the wispy clouds reflect the quilting. 

Happy New Year! May your coming year be filled with beautiful quilts, lots of love, laughter, joy and good health!

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas! From Sew & Tell

I stumbled upon a list of Naughty or Nice for Quilters that made me laugh and I just had to share with you.

FYI, I am skipping the Sew & Tell feature, but the party will be open all week.  Maybe you, like me, will be preparing a Year End Review.  I hope you will join the party!  Merry Christmas!


✦  You added more items to your UFO list than you completed

✦  You measured once and had to cut twice

✦  You bought too much and had to sneak packages inside

✦  You got busy sewing and forgot to make dinner

✦  You photocopied the pattern and cheated the designer out of her due ~ BIG NO-NO, BTW!

✦  You turned into the "Quilt Police"

✦  You bought the book/pattern you already owned because you have so many you forgot you already have it

✦  You spoke like a sailor when you realized you were sewing with no bobbin thread


Star Toss Mystery Quilt Top 
✦  You finished your project!

✦  You gave a quilted item as a gift

✦  You can always find something nice to say about other people's quilts

✦  You rejoice in your friends' quilting successes

✦  You donate your time and talent to sew for worthy causes

✦  You shared your best scraps

✦  You shared tiny pieces for crazy friends or pet beds

✦  You taught your skill to a new quilter

✦  You did a sewing chore for someone who doesn't sew

If you need a little help with item 4 on the naughty list - forgot to make dinner a time or two I can help you out.

Here's a No Guilt::Go Quilt slow cooker recipe that I found for Cashew Chicken...

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders or chicken breast tenders
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews


Place diced chicken in a slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

Combine 1/4 cup water and 4 teaspoons Tapioca starch (or corn starch) and stir into the sauce to thicken. Serve over rice with some stir-fry veggies.  Garnish with cashews. 

Makes 4-6 servings.

So how do you measure up?  

Are you a "Naughty" quilter?  

Or a "Nice" quilter?

In all honesty, I confess to a few of items on the "naughty" list, but I can check off more items on the "nice" list.  How 'bout you?

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

Merry Christmas,


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Friday, December 22, 2023

Mini-Quilt #51/52 - Star of Wonder

We are just days away from the celebration of the birth of Jesus!  I remember that as a child, there was a magic about Christmas, and that magic centered on Santa and the gifts.  Traditions included having a tree with lights and homemade ornaments, gifts were often hand-made, and we had plenty of homemade cookies, candy and popcorn balls.

When our own children were little, I carried on the tradition of cookies and popcorn balls, the tree loaded with ornaments and lights and plenty of gifts beneath.  I would make ornaments to send/pass out with plates and platters full of goodies. I came to realize that Santa was fun for the kiddos, but as the years have passed, 
I have realized that I truly cherished the Church traditions of an Advent wreath and a Christmas Eve Service where Silent Night was sung as candles were lit, row by row and the glow in the Sanctuary grew brighter.

This year, we have scaled back on gifts, goodies and overbooked schedules.  I have enjoyed the month participating in the Star Toss Mystery Quilt with Melanie Meyer.  The wonky stars make this a whimsical and magical quilt.  

I was not able to keep up daily, but every few days I did get caught up.  It was an easy pace that I chose (she had multiple options and sizes).  Basically, one star a day.  This past week, since I had delivered the last of the customer quilts, I jumped in on the "simple throw", which included the stars and piecing of sections.  

As I completed the sections, I had some extra bits and pieces so I thought I would make a wonky star mini quilt... which I am calling "Star of Wonder".

It is a phrase in the Christmas song, We Three Kings... 

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

I'll be adding a little hand quilting to it, but I just couldn't wait to share it!  🌟

Thanks for taking the time to stop by for a visit. :)  Before you go, though, I'm wondering...

What are some of your favorite traditions?

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

Keep Piecing... there's still a few days to get your project done. lol.


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Sunday, December 17, 2023

Sew & Tell ~ December 18, 2023

There is one week until Christmas! and only two weeks left until the New Year. I'm certain that there are a few quilters out there that are frantically trying to complete their projects to gift on Christmas. I thought I would share, once again, this poem that I shared in 2020...

May you have a circle of quilting friends that will help you survive. :)

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 stockings 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!

It was a busy week for me... I did successfully finish my customer's quilt.  Since it has been soooooooo long since doing free-motion stippling, I decided to used my template.  Everything was going smoothly. Before beginning, I recalled some of the problems I'd had with skipped stitches on recent quilts and realized that I had fewer problems when I used the Aurifil thread than when I used the Coats&Clark from wally... DUH.

I checked with the customer about changing the thread colors and, with her approval, moved forward.  Between doctor appointments with my Mom, getting our Christmas letter picked up and, in the mail, and the need for snow removal at Mom's house, I managed to get 1/2 done and was very pleased with how it was going.  

I was in a bit of a rush as I was making an adjustment in the placement of the template when I heard a small crack and realized that I had snapped off a center portion of the template. *ugh* 

After taking a few minutes to settle down, I realized that I could still use it and returned to quilting. I could have carried on without it but was concerned that my FMQ would not match closely enough to what I had done with the template.  I simply had to make certain that the quilting foot followed the outer lines of the template.  In reality, it became easier to move and adjust the template to where I needed it. 

Once the binding was complete and the thread tails buried, we headed outside for a photo shoot. Ta-dah!  My customer provided the batting, which was a high-loft poly.  I had to spray baste it, which is just so messy.  I personally don't like the puffiness that the poly batting offers, but... hey, it isn't for me, right?

While trying to settle myself down after the template break, I pulled out another scrap Dresden piece that was a green sister to the brown that became a turkey in November.  This one became a small forest of trees... #50/52 in my 2023 mini-quilt series.

A smattering of dimple quilting enhances the sky, helping to give the impression of snowflakes floating from the sky. 

Our Christmas tree is now up and nearly decorated.  Shopping has been done and gifts will be wrapped this week.  I'll be doing a little baking and candy making as well as catching up on the Star Toss Mystery Quilt.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing week of creativity and play!  

Kathleen McMusing has been making Christmas stockings in two sizes and shared details on how she made them in the party last week.  

I love the little ones.  Perfect for a few dollar bills or gift card to be tucked into.

As the days continue to countdown to Christmas, may your heart be filled with peace and joy.

Keep piecing,


Linking with:


Sunday, December 10, 2023

Sew & Tell ~ December 11, 2023

We are in the midst of the season that gets busy... schedules filled with plans for Christmas or holiday gatherings with family, friends or business associates, special concerts, decorating, baking and more.

Most of last week's to-do list items were completed with ease... The t-shirt quilt was delivered and received with joy.  You can read about my customer's reaction here.

Mini-quilt #49/52, that I shared on Thursday, the first evening of Hanukkah came with a brief history lesson that I found on-line.

Today, I back-track to mini-quilt #48/52... A Modern Christmas Sampler.

It is 5"x7" and features a small sampling of some Christmas fabrics from the stash. 

Our business Christmas greetings are in the mail and our family letter is nearly composed.  We are waiting (as usual) for our oldest daughter's portion.  If you are not familiar with our format, we each write our personal summary of the year.  Dave, the stock maker, has "The Stock Report".  Mine is entitled "Sew Much More" since I usually fill in any blanks that were missed in the other's highlights and... well, my quilting!  Our youngest is a PTA and has "The Tranquil Life" and our oldest used to have "The Lab Report" since she is a Medical Laboratory Scientist.  But with 4 children and the chaotic schedule they live with I changed it a few years ago to "The Wild Life".  She is notoriously late with it each year, which is why I always give a deadline 2-3 days early.  Shhh... don't tell her. LOL

This format began when the girls were in Jr. high and high school.  One year was especially busy and I enlisted their help.  Back then it was only one page.  It has since grown through front & back of standard paper, to two-sided legal and now 11x17.  Everyone enjoys it very much.  It is like a bonus!  Not just one Christmas letter, but 4!

Once the letters are mailed, I will be finishing a batik quilt for a customer... all over stippling was her design choice.

I'll try to stay up with the Star Tossed Mystery Quilt and one more Christmas mini.  Those wonky stars are in all sizes, from 3" to 12".  They were a little tricky for me, but I have a method down and am having fun.  I chose a nice easy pace, with one block a day. If I get a little behind, it is easy to catch up.

Have you seen my progress with my advent calendars on instagram and fb?  It's been fun seeing the various sew-in tags.  I think my favorite, so far, is the "stinkin' love you". 

And the statement is true!  I stinkin' love you all.  From all that read MLS and my sometimes-rambling thoughts, to those that comment and those that join the weekly party.  You are all the best!  Mwah!

Now for this week's feature...

Marsha's Spot has been working at making gifts... her fabric bowls, a scarf and a rug were items she made for a sale and chose to keep her gifts "hidden" until after gifting.  

She asked if anyone else has been making gifts.  Just this week, I had an order for three potato baker bags... they ship out Monday morning.  They are not gifts from me, but gifts that I made for a customer to give. :)  

How about you?  Are you making gifts?  What are you making.  

Time for Sew & Tell!

Keep piecing,


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Friday, December 8, 2023

From High School Teen to Doctor ~ A Friday Finish

When your customer admits to you that she is not a huge fan of quilts but LOVES the custom t-shirt quilt and states that "not all quilts are equal" and "this one is exceptional, and I love every detail of it!  From the red, to the music note fabric and muted colors of the leaves in between the shirts"... well, I was deeply touched and it made my heart sing... and may have needed a tissue to wipe a tear away as she pulled out of the driveway.

A "skipped line" quilting design

A close up shot of one of the shirts that has her name on it

The label... and if you look at the top of the photo you will see
a few small logos that didn't fit onto the front of the quilt

I don't often get to see the reaction of a customer when they see their quilt for the first time.  

This one was extra special! 

Have I ever mentioned that I love being able to preserve the memories of another's life for them??? 

Whether it is a quilt or an heirloom gift like a memory bear or something entirely different, it doesn't really matter.  

Leaving a legacy for others to recall loved ones or special moments is a part of my love language.

Everyone has a love language... what is yours?

Keep piecing,


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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Hanukkah - Mini Quilt #49/52

A brief history lesson from and a mini-quilt, #49/52 in honor of those celebrating Hanukkah...

Each year, Jews around the world celebrate an eight-day winter holiday known as Hanukkah (also spelled “Chanukah” and several other ways) on the 25th day of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, typically falling in November or December on the Gregorian calendar.

Hanukkah has ancient roots, commemorating the second century B.C.E. reclaiming and rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following a period of Greek-Syrian occupation and desecration of the holy place, according to ancient Hebrew texts like the Talmud and the books of the Maccabees. In fact, Hanukkah means “dedication.” And like many religious and cultural celebrations and rituals, those associated with Hanukkah have changed over time.

“Hanukkah became more prominent in medieval Europe, when Jews were intermingling with Christians in close quarters,” says Rabbi Joseph Skloot, assistant professor of modern Jewish intellectual history at Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in New York. “Seeing Christians celebrate Christmas with such pageantry, and symbols that are so evocative, Jews sought to exalt their symbols during that same time.”

Over the next several centuries, Jews brought Hanukkah traditions with them as they migrated and resettled across the globe, including to what is now the United States. “Hanukkah in America is a joyful, light-filled festival celebrated by many Jewish families during the darkest days of December,” says Rabbi Douglas Sagal of Congregation B'Nai Israel in Rumson, New Jersey. Here are the origins and meanings behind several Hanukkah traditions, as celebrated in America.

Lighting a Menorah
Back in the second century, after a small band of Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees managed to overthrow the Greek-Syrians and reclaim the ancient temple in Jerusalem, they found a single container of oil: enough to keep the candelabrum (also known as a “menorah” or a “Hanukkiyah”) lit for one day, Skloot explains. Instead, the oil lasted for eight days, in what is now referred to as the “Hanukkah miracle.”

According to Sagal, lighting a menorah has been the primary ritual of Hanukkah for at least 1,800 years. “It appears from early sources that originally, only one candle was lit to mark the rededication of the Temple and the kindling of the sacred menorah,” he explains. “Eventually, it became the practice to light eight candles, one each night of the eight-day festival, to recall the miracle that the sacred lamp oil lasted for eight days.”

Since that shift, menorahs have had nine branches to accommodate the eight candles, as well as one used to light the others.

The candles are added from right to left, but lit from left to right on the menorah, thus always starting with the newest light. The special menorah used for Hanukkah has eight branches, with a ninth place for the candle called shamash from which all others are lit.

The tradition calls for candles with a real flame, though some also use electric ones in public displays, such as in hospitals, for safety reasons.

One of the essential aspects of the celebration, Skloot says, is publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah, when one day’s worth of oil provided eight days of light. “The practice of placing the Hanukkiyah in the window of one's home after it's lit is a way of announcing to the world that this extraordinary miracle took place,” he explains.

And while most Hanukkah rituals take place in the home, over the last decade, Skloot says that some communities have been holding public menorah lighting ceremonies alongside those for Christmas trees.

“This seems to be a particularly American phenomenon,” he notes, “and a sign of the broader acceptance of Jews in American public life.”

With the foundation of Christianity being of the Jewish faith, I find the celebration interesting.  A similar story exists in the Bible in 1 Kings 17... It tells of Elijah meeting a widow and asking for her to feed him...

Then God spoke to him: “Get up and go to Zarephath in Sidon and live there. I’ve instructed a woman who lives there, a widow, to feed you.”

10-11 So he got up and went to Zarephath. As he came to the entrance of the village he met a woman, a widow, gathering firewood. He asked her, “Please, would you bring me a little water in a jug? I need a drink.” As she went to get it, he called out, “And while you’re at it, would you bring me something to eat?”

12 She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me.”

13-14 Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’”

15-16 And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it!

I pray that those that will begin the celebration of Hanukkah at sunset December 7th are blessed with joy as they recall not just the miracle that is at the core of this holiday, but the miracles that are before us each and every day.  

We only need to look around us to see them.  

Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Keep Piecing,


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