Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Holidays are for Sharing (free pattern with purchase!)

Get a FREE pattern for a friend with every purchase!

 As I was sipping my coffee this morning I wanted to find a way to help all of you share the joy of the holidays. I also know that it's been a rough year and you probably haven't treated yourself to enough sweet treats so here's what I came up with...

For every purchase you make from my SHOP you can treat a friend to a free PDF download pattern! Here's how it will work (because I'm tech challenged.) When you purchase ANY item from my online shop you will see a comment box at checkout. In this comment box, leave the EMAIL of the recipient, the PATTERN NAME and who is sending the gift (just say SECRET SANTA if you want to remain anonymous). Your item will arrive to you as usual, and the gift pattern will be sent to your recipient with a cute email saying that they've been treated to some holiday cheer! 

The only rule- it starts now but has to be completed by Dec. 15, 2020 (as I have surgery scheduled the 17th and will be in hospital.) This year has been brutal financially for small businesses like mine, and for friends who can't be together with loved ones. So when you are small business shopping for the holidays, I hope you will treat yourself to something and let me treat a friend of yours! 


Please email me if you would like to send a group gift for your bee or guild and we can make that happen! I have group rates available depending on size of the group.

Let's all spread a little holiday cheer this year!

Diane

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Tis the Season for Christmas Quilts!

Before you yell at me for getting ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday please remember that I posted a wonderful Autumn Checklist and Autumn Quilts and Feeling Thankful post. I also know that if I wait until after Thanksgiving to start thinking about Christmas I will never finish in time!

My goal to finish this Snow Globe Collage Quilt is still  possible and I work on it a bit every day. I am really enjoying the process. I got addicted to the technique when I made the pumpkin quilt and really enjoyed all of your comments on that post. It got me to thinking I could make anything, but to be honest, I might need a collage 'break' after this one because it's a doozy!

I start by pulling out some of my favorite holiday quilts which include Under the Mistletoe and 

Piney Grove, along with the table runner version of each! And I toss Christmas quilts on the beds as well! I will slowly start replacing pumpkins with Santas and Christmas decor. I won't put up the tree until I have a house full of helpers at Thanksgiving. 

I might make new stockings this year, as we've used the same ones for over 20 years. This year is all about starting new traditions and making new memories! I honestly hadn't planned on having surgery before Christmas, so we will have to see what happens and what doesn't. After this year, anything is a bonus, don't you think?

Merry Everything Y'all!

Diane

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Feeling THANKFUL

It goes without saying that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year! I don't have to tell you what has gone wrong and what continues to weigh heavy on all of us. But I discovered a long time ago that giving thanks and feeling grateful for my blessings is the best way to cope with all of the things that have gone so terribly wrong in life. Personally, this year has been soul shattering in more ways than one. This year has also offered me gifts that were unexpected and amazing! More than anything, 2020 has been a year of extremes. 

But I choose to focus on the things that make me so thankful right now. So here's my list (you had to know I made a list, right?)

My Health

After years of joking that 'menopause is trying to kill me' I have finally found a diagnosis! I will spare you the details but I'm thrilled to say that I have a surgeon I trust, an answer to the cause of my symptoms, and a solution! I will be having a hysterectomy next month. So I am thankful for the healthcare and technology that found some answers to my questions and the perfect timing of it all. My kids will be home next month to help take care of the dogs (and me) while I recover. I am looking forward to feeling better than I have in years! I'm also looking forward to pain free days and increased energy! While I'm not looking forward to the surgery, I am so thankful to see better days that will follow it.


My Family

My 3 kids are nothing short of amazing. They are all doing well in school and coping with COVID with determination, courage and grace. I'm so incredibly proud of how they continue to work so hard in the face of so much disappointment and sadness. They have lost so much of their college experience this past year and faced so many challenges of learning online, and missing their friends, and being robbed of the campus life they loved so dearly. Their resilience has been an inspiration to me. And they are moving back home for Thanksgiving and will remain home until the new year! That is something my mom heart is so thankful for!


My Friends

During the worst of my challenges this year, my friends have stepped in and offered me grace and love beyond anything I could ever imagine or deserve. My online friends send encouragement and offer opportunities that continue to bless me. My local friends surround me with support and kindness and a listening ear to my endless worries. If I'm going to take credit, I've chosen my friends well, but mostly I think the credit goes to them, for being outstanding pillars of support and love through the worst of days.

My Work

I'll be honest. I REALLY miss traveling and teaching and meeting amazing quilters. While they say I give so much, the reality is that I get so much in return. Sharing skills and ideas and information is just a vehicle by which we can offer each other encouragement and help and hope. I miss all of those things. The beautiful quilters I meet along the way warm my heart so much more than any quilt ever could. So I am grateful for those memories.

I'm also grateful that my work has allowed me to contribute to my kids' college education. What a blessing to do work I love and share the rewards with my children. The financial situation of my work has changed drastically, but I am so glad I was able to do what I could for as long as I could.

I'm thankful that new opportunities like teaching online, and designing fabric are now on my daily agenda. Designing my first line of fabric (and soon my second) has been a dream come true. I am so thankful to the folks at Blank Quilting who offered me this opportunity! But the friend that recommended me to them is someone who will never know how much she has blessed my life when I needed it most!

My Longarm

Quilting for others on my longarm has been such a wonderful thing for me in many ways! I get to quilt beautiful quilts, I make a little money, and I get to use some creative energy while playing with fabric and thread! I'm so blessed to be able to quilt almost every day, and I will be even more thankful when I can return to quilting after my surgery recovery. Maybe I'll even get a few of my own quilt tops quilted? 

My Home

My home is my sanctuary. I love that it's cozy and filled with reminders of all the people and places I love. Who knows when or if I'll ever get to travel again, but I do know that I have collected a lifetime of good memories and I am so lucky to be surrounded by them. I will cozy up by the fire this winter, plan my spring garden, and walk my dogs and laugh with my children. I will read good books and stitch beautiful quilts and bake lots of cookies. I will relish my new kitchen and maybe start planning the next project (minor bathroom redo?) between sewing and reading and baking and walking and loving on my people.


My Furbabies

Buddy and Bailey are getting so old (14 and 12) but I plan to spoil them rotten in their remaining years. I will make sure Bailey always has a soft bed to lay on and Buddy always has a warm sweater to wear. They will give me kisses and snuggles and companionship in return.


Boomer is 6 now, but still a massive ball of energy and enthusiasm. Our daily walks are my therapy and his larger than life personality entertains me all day long. Recently I took him to visit my kids at UGA and he loved every minute with them. He didn't want to let them go (neither did I!) but I noticed on the car ride home, he sat and looked out the window for over an hour. He was taking in all the sights along the way. He might have been leaving his kids, but he was with his mom and going on an adventure and he didn't want to miss a thing. I try every day to be more like him, open and eager and happy! We never know what is coming next, so we might as well greet it with a good attitude!


I do hope that you are able to focus on the blessings and find reasons for hope and joy each day. This year has been a doozy and we all need to do whatever we can to make each day a little bit better, even if it's just for ourselves. Please be good to yourself, and find something to focus on that makes your heart thankful, it's amazing what it will do for the rest of you!

And if you are reading this, I consider you a friend and would love to offer you support in any way possible. Hang in there!!! We will get through this together by helping each other.

Diane

Monday, November 9, 2020

The Great Pumpkin Collage

 


I finished my first collage quilt this weekend! It was super fun once I got into the rhythm of it. I learned a lot and I'm glad I started small because it can get out of control quickly if you let it. This was my warm up/ practice project because I have plans to make the Laura Heine Snow Globe for Christmas. I know I'm nuts, but I think that's been established for quite some time... 


My friend Janet gave me a cute pumpkin drawing to get me started. She suggests looking online for coloring pages or simple clip art pumpkins and just enlarge to the size you like. Make any adjustments to suit your taste. It's not only a great way to get good outline shape for a pumpkin, but any simple shapes you might need.


After I laid out the pumpkin pieces, I started adding the fussy cut elements (that I had already added fusible to on the back) and it's easy to see how one can get really carried away! It was fun adding little bits and pieces all over the place, but in the end, I decided to add some but not all of the options. for those of you that know me, you won't be surprised that some selvages made it onto the final layout!


Once everything was fused, I was able to layer it and start the grid quilting. I began with a simple beige thread and sewed lines through the center and along the edges to serve as my basting. Then I added randomly spaced lines throughout the quilt in a grid. It was so fun that I decided to add additional color threads. The more the merrier!


Once again, the hard part was knowing when to stop! I could have continued with more thread colors and more quilting but decided to stop when most of the lines were about 1/4 inch apart. I did not mark any of the lines, I just used a walking foot and it's not perfect but it's 'organic' and I like that!


Here it is all quilted and just waiting for the binding. usually go with a dark binding but I didn't want it to stand out too much, so I went with this neutral print. It is a favorite and was already laying on my work surface. See what I mean when I say all of my quilts are mystery quilts, even I don't know what they're going to look like in the end? It's a fun perspective and sounds more professional that 'flying by the seat of your pants'! LOL


As you can see in this photo from the back, it is heavily quilted and could probably stand up on it's own. It is about 16 inches square and I used 3 full bobbins for the quilting alone. I added the binding by machine. I sewed the binding to the front, and then put an invisible thread in the bobbin before stitching the binding down from the back. Because the quilt was small and so stiff from all the quilting, the binding went on like a dream!

I hope you enjoyed the story of my first pumpkin! I'm no expert at collage by any means but if you want to try it, here are some resources for you to check out.


Note: you will use much more fusible and pattern ease than you realize. I was shocked at how much fusible I went through for this tiny project. (probably more than a yard!)

Enjoy!
Diane






Thursday, November 5, 2020

Mystery Block of the Month Step 2



No you're not seeing double! We are repeating what we did last month (only with longer strips to make our blocks a wee bit bigger!) So you are not going to have to think much at all. Just grab another pile of strips and start cutting and sewing. Here's the details...

Step 2

Cutting

Cut 2 matching strips 1 1/2'' x 7''

Cut 2 matching strips 1 1/2'' x 9'' from the same fabric

Repeat for each block you are making:

  • Queen Size-cut 36
  • Throw Size-cut 20
Sewing

Sew the 1 1/2'' x 7'' strips to opposite sides of each block. (sewn last month)
Press the seams toward the strip added.
Sew the 1 1/2'' x 9'' strips to the remaining two sides of each block.
Press the seams toward the strip added.
The finished unit should be 9'' x 9''.

Repeat for each block you are making.
Each block will be bordered by four strips of the same fabric. 
The strips can be lighter or darker than the center square or previous strips.



See the Introduction post for more options and details.
Go HERE to print the instructions.
If you are sharing your progress on social media be sure to use the following hashtags so we can find you!

#butterflythreadsquilting
#mysteryblockofthemonth2020

Enjoy every stitch!
Diane

Sunday, November 1, 2020

October 2020 Instagram Review

 


Some #wordsofwisdom, afternoon light in the yard, evening walks
my finished #celebration2020sewalong, #mysteryblockofthemonth step 1, new kicks


fall color, gorgeous new book, autumn quilts
lots of zoom teaching, my dinner date always begs, my quilted sew along quilt
spoiled dog, lots of longarming, love seeing your sew alongs in progress
dog kisses, a new tea towel, happy mail 


my new favorite coffee flavor, he's so needy, shopping spree
ginger snaps, my quilting supervisor, fun day at the farm
sew along is on the bed, hand binding, pumpkin spice rolls
free projects, autumn decor, truth


chocolate chip cookies, best prequel ever, pumpkin muffins
fall color, dining al fresco, snuggles
pumpkins on the porch, happy mail, awesome magazine
collage beginnings, best donuts ever, silly dogs


hot tea with lemon, Halloween Donuts, 10 minute tip
strip sets, Hurricane Zeta, strip sets
pitiful dogs, another sew along quilt, porch time
loving this book, I voted, new masks


And if you are still desperately searching for a copy of the magazine with my quilt in it, you can order a copy HERE. It does seem to be sold out at many locations. See quilt hanging behind me in photo.

I hope your October was filled with lots of things you love. I am setting some goals for November and think I might try to walk 50 miles (2 a day for at least 25 days.) Let's hope the weather cooperates. I also want to share a few new projects I've been working on. Fun stuff!

LONGARM CUSTOMERS, please know that I am all caught up on my customer quilts and will be happy to quilt for you with a fast turn around. If you want something done for Christmas, please have to to me by Thanksgiving (the sooner the better!) 

If you are on Instagram, please share your link in the comments, I want to be sure I'm following my friends! 

Diane



Thursday, October 29, 2020

October 2020 Book List


Everything Inside

I was so excited to listen to these short stories. I knew that if Reese recommended it for her book club I would love it because I have thoroughly enjoyed all of her selections. While the stories a captivating and well told, there is a realism to the plight of Haitian immigrants in south Florida that is probably very honest, but harsh and heartbreaking and lacking hope or promise. I was so completely depressed when I finished these stories as they were so sad and so depressing. I kept waiting for the triumph of the spirit or the love of family and friends to come to the rescue but it didn't. I was ready to give up and I almost didn't start to the last story. I wish I hadn't because it bordered on horror (not my cup of tea!) So if you are interested in the subject matter, this is extremely well written and probably very honest, but beware that it will leave you feeling sad. 


Home Going

The characters in this story captured my heart completely. Their abduction from Africa and journey as slaves to America is pretty much what you would expect. It's excruciatingly brutal and heart breaking at every turn. The characters show strength and perseverance that defies limits. I gave up on this book because it is so devastating, but the story is so important. I'm so glad I met these characters and I really felt like I experienced their journey with them, which is what the best writers do! I simply cannot imagine how people survived these experiences and lived through such evil. 


Bright As Heaven

This was a wonderfully told story of a family that lived through the Spanish flu pandemic of the last century. It was poignant to read given we find ourselves in another deadly pandemic. I fell in love with each of the characters and found myself hoping for the best for each of them. I felt like I was part of the family that moved to the big city to start a new life only to find themselves faced with unbelievable tragedy and how they loved each other through the most challenging of times. Their goodness and hope in spite of the dire circumstances was touching and uplifting while still being very realistic. I highly recommend this book.

The Evening and the Morning

This is the prequel to my favorite book of all time The Pillars of the Earth. I love visiting the middle ages through the life of this family and their business and government interactions. The relationships are what you would expect but there are many surprises along the way as well. I find myself so involved with the characters that I'm offended for them at times and always empathetic to their circumstances. The brutality of the human race is nothing short of astonishing. Then again, so is the resilience and perseverance. I am savoring this book to make it last longer. I'm only reading a hundred or so pages a day, and at 900+ pages, that could take a while. All the better!



South of the Buttonwood Tree

I don't know how I found this book to be honest. But the cover art and the title were very appealing to me. Then when I read "magical realism" I was sold! It came home with a stack of books on my birthday when I treated myself to a shopping spree at the local bookstore. But didn't get read right away because I had too many books to choose from. (One of my favorite problems!)

I'm only a couple of chapters in and I can tell I'm going to love it!

Enjoy every chapter!

Diane



THE FINE PRINT: as always, this post contains affiliate links which earn me a small reward from each purchase made through them. I appreciate your support and enjoy a free book or two each month thanks to your help! 


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