Friday, October 19, 2018

Fall Break with Family

All three of my kids have different fall breaks this year! My daughter Kelly was the first one to have break, and she wanted to visit her brother Danny at Virginia Tech. She hadn't been to see his campus and wanted to know more about where he was living. (She helped move her other brother David, into his apartment at University of Georgia this year, and she's visited UGA campus many times!) This photo was taken outside his apartment.

So we planned a road trip! She came home from Berry College on Friday night and then we drove to Blacksburg on Saturday morning. We were able to spend the whole weekend with Danny! After arriving at his apartment, he took us on a tour of the campus, including all of the academic buildings he has classes in, and then to Lane Stadium.

Where we even got to touch the Hokie Stone. Well, they did, I was too short. LOL Then we went for what was supposed to be a nice little hike to a waterfall. It turned into a 3 hour adventure, but we had so much fun!

We took the upper trail to the Cascades because the lower trail had been washed out by flooding. The hike to the falls was marked as 2 miles but someone with a fitbit INSISTED it was 2.6 miles. LOL and then we still had to hike back down.

Needless to say, the hike back down the mountain was much easier!

After all that hiking, Danny easily ate this entire meal at the Blacksburg Taphouse. And I easily drank a cold bear while enjoying the fried pickles with Kelly. Yum!

We were even able to take him out to breakfast Monday morning before we drove home. It made my heart so happy to see them having fun together, but I missed David not being there. Sniff. It's so rare and special when all three of my kids are together.

Kelly promised me that she was going to make sure she and her brothers stayed close and raised their own families together. It makes my so happy that they are such good friends as well as siblings. I think they are bonded so tightly because they are so close in age (Kelly is only 15.5 months older than the boys!)

And the dogs were very happy when we returned home. I think they are already missing her again (me too!) We only have a month until Thanksgiving when they will all be home again! I miss these kids so much it hurts, but I'm so thankful I had this amazing weekend with two of them.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Name this Quilt Survey and Give Away!!!

This is one of my latest quilts that I am ready to release a pattern for but I have no name for it yet! It is made from two different blocks, both of which have four patches in them. It also features fun corners that have portions of the blocks extending into the borders.

I made this quilt from two Lori Holt bundles and yardage. I love the bright colors and the fun design the blocks create when arranged this way. Not only are there tiny four patch trails running in circles, but there are large crosses stretching from corner to corner.

So here's how we are going to play this game. You can choose one of the Quilt Name options below and vote in the comments with the letter or name. OR you can offer your very own suggestion. No matter what you choose or suggest, you will receive a


just for playing! As my way of saying thank you for helping me out. Please vote or comment with your suggestions, I've been stumped on this one for a long time!!!

A- Picnic 4 Two
B- Follow Me
C- Candy Crossing

Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Scrap Quilt Secrets VS. Strip Quilt Secrets

My first book, SCRAP QUILT SECRETS was developed from the questions I kept hearing during my teaching trips and workshops. I was constantly asked about my design process, and how I went about selecting my designs, fabrics and scraps to make the quilts that seem to all have my signature look. Some folks describe my style as cozy, or cheerful, or a variety of other kind compliments. But the bottom line was, the quilters I met wanted to know how I went from scrap basket to finished quilt.

So I wrote a book. That book is one I'm very proud of. I've gotten the kindest feedback and wonderful reviews for SCRAP QUILT SECRETS.

Style tells the story of your quilt.
Contrast does all the work and color gets all the credit.
Repetition creates a calm design from chaos.
Accents of color can really make a design succeed.
Palettes or ranges of color options can make the very best scrap quilts.

And once again, while I was traveling and teaching, I noticed that I was hearing a set of new questions. While I was exploring the design process with my fellow quilters, I noticed they were super curious about some of my organization methods and sewing techniques.

So I wrote another book. STRIP QUILT SECRETS reveals the storage and organization methods I use to manage my stash. It also explains in detail the techniques I use for not only storing my scraps, but how I sew with them and how I achieve accuracy through the cutting, sewing and pressing process.

I explain how I use ...

Strip sets that combine lots of fabrics and make accurate blocks.
Triangles from strips are a great way to achieve no waste units that need no trimming!
Resewing strip set that have been cut and turned for spinning success.
Individual strips can be sewn without fuss and with lots of fun!
Piecing alternatives which include sew and flip techniques and sewing scraps into strips.

And of course I had to toss a selvage quilt into the book as well.

While both books are organized the same way, and they both have acronyms for the chapters, and they are both filled with quilts I love and adore, they are very different as well. Some of the quilts in the first book can be strip pieced, and they do use some triangles, the new book is all about STRIPS. It has lots of techniques, but loads of tips and hints as well.

And the thing I'm most excited about STRIP QUILT SECRETS? Every quilt is available in four different sizes! That's right, no more doing math for everyone who asks, it's all there in the book already. You can make any quilt in the book in any size! Woohoo!

And you will be able to order my new book in just one month! If you haven't already pre-ordered it online, you will be able to get it from me in person or in my shop beginning Nov. 23. So you can start your Black Friday shopping right here! I will have a package deal for ordering both books at the same time, and I will be offering other prizes and give aways to celebrate!

So stay tuned...

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Step 2 of Sew Your Stash Along

Step 2 (3’’ blocks + 2’’ sashing)

Background fabric - cut 96 2’’ squares
X fabrics - cut 48 strips 1 ½‘’ x 3’’ from one fabric
X fabrics - cut 48 strips 1 ½‘’ x 3’’ from another fabric
Sashing - cut 2 strips 2” x 21 ½’’
Sashing - cut 2 strips 2’’ x 24 ½’’

For each block

Layer the background 2’’ square and an X fabric 1 ½‘’ x 3’’ strip right sides together. Sew along the right side of the square using a ¼” seam allowance. Press toward the square. Make 4.

Arrange the units as shown and sew together like a four patch. Pinwheel press the seams.

Using a square ruler with a diagonal mark, trim the unit to 3 ½’’ square. Make sure the seams are on the corners exactly before trimming. Make 12 from one color combo, and 12 from another color combo.

Sew two rows of 5 blocks (alternating colors) and two rows of 7 blocks (alternating colors). The seams on the blocks with ‘nest’ at the corners. Use care as these blocks have bias edges.

Sew the rows of 5 blocks to opposite sides of step one unit. Sew the rows of 7 blocks to the remaining two sides.

Sew the 2” x 21 ½’’ sashing to opposite sides of step two unit. Press toward the sashing strips. Sew the 2’’ x 24 ½’’ sashing to the remaining two sides. Press toward the sashing strips. The size will now be 24 ½’’ square. Trim if needed.

I would love to see your progress! Send me photos or tag me on social media. I hope you are having fun with this. And remember, make it your own! Change the blocks, the colors, the contrast, whatever you want! These are just suggestions to get you going. 

Click HERE for the introduction post.
Click HERE for the Step 1 post.

Enjoy every stitch!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

September Summary

A lot happened in September, and for those of you that don't follow me on social media, here are few things that you may have missed...

HIKING- Bill and I took Boomer on weekly hikes on our local Greenway Trail. It's mostly flat with a few very big hills, and I managed to make it farther each week. Woohoo!

ORGANIZING- I went through the house and cleaned out more closets, organized the pantry and few kitchen cabinets and refolded and stacked quilts in every corner. Where did all of these quilts come from? Hmmm.

MUG RUGS- I made these simple mug rugs with tumbler mugs and marshmallows from my recent scraps of Tilda and grunge. I gave them to my co-workers for being so tolerant of my antics at work. They put up with a lot and we laugh a LOT but I like reminding them how special they are to me.

SUPPLIES- I ordered some more thread colors and thread charts from Superior for my longarm. I have lots of colors to choose from, but the sale was amazing and I wanted something autumn inspired.

QUILTING- I quilted 3 quilts for charity and a quilt for a friend. I love trying new designs and choosing just the right shade of thread. I have a couple quilts coming to me this week and I can't wait to quilt them!

FOOTBALL- Football season started and I grew up in New Orleans LOVING my Saints, and now I can't help but love the Falcons, so the overtime game that was a nail biter the whole time was amazing and exhausting! We had great seats on 48 yard line behind the bench. It was so fun to be so close and to have sideline access. WOW.

CLEAR TOTE- I needed a clear bag to take to the game and didn't like any of the ones I found online or at the mall, so I made my own. For less than five dollars I sewed this bag up and it was perfect. The straps were long enough to allow the bag to hang over my seat armrest without touching the stadium floor. It also gave me plenty of room for carrying essentials plus a sweater when the weather gets cooler.

I've also been busy working on the upcoming steps of the Sew Your Stash Along and doing some pattern work, as well as making plans for Market!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE AT FALL MARKET please let me know! I would love to meet up with you in person and say hi!

Happy October,

Friday, September 28, 2018

September Reading List

Get the book HERE.

This is a beautifully written book about a boy who struggles to unravel the mysteries of his own family. I like the main character, but never felt like I really got to know many of the other characters. It is so slow paced and focused on the telling rather than the actual story that I didn't finish it. I just wanted something to happen, and when it became clear is wasn't going to, I gave up. That being said, I think it might make a better movie than a book, and I never say that! If prose is your thing, read it. If you like a little more action or some revelations, skip it.

Get the book HERE.

I had heard rave reviews about the author and honestly didn't know what to expect. It is written by a comedian and it's funny. I laughed out loud more than once. It's a series of short stories or 'skits' from his performances. He's raw, honest and really funny. However, if profanity or sex jokes are not your thing, be warned, this contains both. Adult language and content in abundance. That being said, I am not easily offended and I laughed, a LOT. Read at your own risk.

Get the book HERE.

This short novel is heart breaking and heart warming. It's the story of an immigrant family after the mother dies and the father leaves the daughter with family to go explore the wild west. It's a short, quick read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would have loved another few hundred pages, but even so, it was a well told story and I had huge amounts of empathy for the main characters. There's no happily ever after, but it's a good book that I would recommend!

Get the book HERE.

Ok folks, I am not sure what to say about this one. It's weird and freaky and bizarre and I could't put it down. It's the deeply disturbing tale of a young boy who gets kidnapped, and following his 'return' must try to find his captor to solve the mysteries of his new 'condition'. It's like the twilight zone meets a horror movie? It's not graphic or gruesome, but it's really weird! I like the main characters but find the ex-girlfriend a little annoying. I would recommend it if you don't mind a really bizarre experience.

Get the book HERE.

I am not sure what to say about this book. I liked the style of the writing and the way the story is told from each of the four siblings point of view but, it could have skipped a lot of the life observations and random bits of wisdom. Usually, I like those things, but in this book it made it feel a little over the top at times. Does that make sense?

It's the story of four siblings who go to a fortune teller on a whim as children, and they are told the day they will each die. It's seen as a burden by some and a blessing by others. It does raise the question about how much are we really in control of our destiny or are we just doomed to whatever fate has in store for us? As a child of the 70's and 80's I recognized many of the corresponding historical events and social issues of those decades. There are some graphic adult situations and sex included in the book. I always feel like I should warn about that. So read at your own risk.

Get the book HERE.

This is a fun little book that is a super quick read. It will make you feel cozy just reading about how the Danish people make their own lives cozy, thereby resulting in happiest nation on earth. It focuses a lot on friends, food, candles, and warm snuggly items like socks and scarves designed to get a person through a long, cold winter. What's not to like about that?

As someone who suffers from S.A.D. (seasonal affective other words, I struggle with depression in the winter months) I felt this book might help with some practical ways to improve my environment during winter months. In Georgia we don't really have beautiful snow fall or pretty winters, we have cold wet cloudy weather for about four months. There is nothing nice about it at all from December through April. So I'm constantly looking for ways to distract myself during those months. Trying new recipes, reading, lots of quilting...and now I'll be able to add a few Danish strategies to my arsenal. I'll see what happens, it's worth a try in my opinion.

That is a crazy assortment of reading, I know. I was overwhelmed when 5 of my library requests all arrived on the same day. Ack! There should be a way to avoid that. LOL

Happy reading friends!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Online Quilting Friends

I've always met my favorite people in the craziest places. I met my husband on a bus! But that's another story for another day, LOL.

I have met some really amazing people online since I began this old blog of mine. It's been so wonderful to connect with such interesting people who all quilt, but who are all so different in so many other ways.

Some of these folks are up to some really cool stuff that I want to share with you. I know their blogs are linked on the sidebar, but I want to share with you why I feel so lucky to call these folks my friends...

My friend Barb

Her blog 'FunWithBarb' could not be more aptly named. This girl looks like she has fun everywhere she goes. I find that both awesome and inspirational. Check out her post about the new classes and workshops she's offering. I would LOVE to attend one of her classes!

My friend Lori.

When Lori isn't hiking a mountain or running she's doing amazing work for folks in other countries. Her love of people and her passion for adventure make her blog about so much more than quilting. But it's her quilting sew alongs and swaps that are probably my favorite anywhere online.

My friend Bonnie.

While Bonnie needs no introduction to most anyone in the quilt world, I'm lucky to call her my friend. She's so kind, caring and supportive! She makes me feel important when talk, text or message. She never misses an opportunity to be encouraging. Her kindness means more to me than I can put into words. I do hope I have a visit to her (soon to be) Quiltville Inn in my future!

My friend  Angie.

Lori takes her scraps and make rainbow quilts out of them. Her quilts are as bright and beautiful as she is and her hometown of New Orleans is where I grew up! Not to mention, she's got some of the cutest dogs and grand-dogs around.

My friend Tanya.

I'm pretty sure Tanya has more hours in her day than the rest of us do. LOL She makes so many amazing quilts and makes it all look so effortless! I'm not sure how she gets it all done but I do know I admire her quilts! Also, she's a new 'empty nester' like me and she knows the struggle. I know she understands.

My friend Val.

Jackson is the cutest dog ever and his mom Val generously shares him on her blog on a regular basis. Val also shares fun link ups and does eye-spy swaps (still haven't made my eye spy quilt yet!) that are fun to play along with. I love her cheerful quilting and can-do attitude!

My friend Kyle.

A visit to Kyle's blog is always a fun surprise. She has such a clever way of finding vintage photos to tell her stories and they never fail to make me smile. I love her gardening skills as much as her quilting skills. She manages to make the exquisite look effortless. And she's always got something nice to say!

My friend Cecile.

While Cecile lives in France, I was lucky enough to meet her at the Pour L'Amour du Fil quilt show there! She's as sweet and cute as she is kind and generous. Her blog gives little peeks into her charming life in France that I savor each time I visit. I wish everyone could meet Cecile!

My friend Corinne.

Cecile brought Corinne along to meet me when we visited in France. I loved her enthusiasm and friendly nature the moment I met her! It's a lot like her blog. She's been busy hosting fun events and giving away some awesome prizes on her blog. She shared lots of photos and stories from her adventures with Tula Pink not long ago. Who knows what she will be up to next!?

My friend Rachel.

Rachel's blog and photos are as creative as her quilting and floral designing. She's got a magical touch that infects everything she does. It's so fun to see what she's up to and to follow her quilting adventures. She recently released some patterns and I couldn't purchase them fast enough!

I'm lucky to have many more online friends, though some of them are no longer blogging. It always makes going to Houston so much more fun knowing I might bump into them. Sometimes, it's just fun looking for their quilts and visiting their work even if I don't get to see them.

Quilting connects us in ways that are far beyond words or stitching. Just think if we weren't quilters, we might never have met? I can't even think about that!

Here's hoping our friendships last as long as our quilts do!


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