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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two Patterns!

My publisher, released two more of my patterns a few days ago.  One of the patterns is an older quilt that I'd designed a number of years ago called, "Queen's Court."  I added yardages and instructions for a lap-size quilt along with the larger quilt and I updated all the instructions and graphics.  I've loved this particular quilt for years simply because it's an easy quilt to make (even though it appears a little complicated) and it looks really nice when it's quilted.  Here's a link to see Queenie:

The second pattern is newer and is called Fractured Star.  This is a pattern that I did as a mystery on my website a while back.  There are just two blocks to the quilt and they're both easy.  I came up with a different method of piecing some triangles that makes them so much easier!  I like this little quilt a lot simply because it looks so much more complicated than it is!  (Besides -- I like all the pretty colors!)  Here's where you can find it:

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Little Bit of Vacation

Greg and I were lucky enough to spend a few days at our friends' trailer on a lake.  It's not a large trailer and I was a little concerned because I can get a little claustraphobic at times -- but it was wonderful!  The weather cooperated with the temps mostly in the 80's.  We did have a couple of cold nights but we were toasty warm with the furnace taking the chill off.  The leaves were turning, the lake was beautiful and there were all kinds of critters and birds to keep things interesting!  Greg spent a lot of time fishing and I spent time at a table outside cutting out fabric for a quilt I'm working on.  I actually got most of the cutting done and ended up sitting outside with my featherweight sewing away.......It was wonderful!   (You'll see this latest project when I've actually got a block or two to show you!)  I also went on a trail ride with some friends.  (As far as I'm concerned any time spent on horseback is time well spent!)  Greg and I both had an absolutely wonderful time and we're already planning our next trip to the lake!   

Isn't this a cute trailer!  We were really VERY comfortable living here for a few days!  Besides -- the view of the lake is incredible!

Greg caught a fish!  He's pretty put out at me because the only "fish" photo I took was with this tiny little sunfish.  He actually did catch some larger fish but I didn't have the camera when he did.


I love this photo of Greg and Jack (The Wonder Dog) on the deck.  It just looks so peaceful to me.

Let me introduce you to Peaches (aka King Copper Wood).  (Peaches is the one on the left.  That's Deb, my best friend on the right)  I rode her on the trail ride and she's a wonderful quarterhorse with exceptional manners.  Peaches now resides close to our home so we're going to get really well acquainted! 

At some point, hopefully soon, I'll have some piecing and/or quilting to show you.  Now that the garden is finished and summer chores are winding down I'm heading to my sewing room whenever I get the chance.   

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great Results!

I haven't been blogging because I've been so busy doing Trunk Shows and teaching classes!  I lectured and taught for two different guilds and had a wonderful time at both.

I was having so much fun teaching that I forgot to take any photos but luckily Judy, from the Jewel Box Quilt Guild in Grinnell, thought to send me a photo of her finished project.  (Thank you SO MUCH!) 

Everyone in class had great fabrics and I'm mad at myself because I forgot to take photos! 

I really do love teaching this Mariner's Compass class because so many people are afraid to tackle this block.   They've heard horror stories about piecing it and are afraid to even attempt it.  I'm always tickled when we get toward the end of class and everyone is putting their pieces together to make the compass -- and it works for them!  They think it's "Quilting Magic!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Parades & Quilts

We had another busy weekend!  Saturday we did house chores and then I finished machine quilting a quilt top that I'd forgotten about until I dug it out of a pile a couple of weeks ago.  I'll take a photo when it's bound.

We had our local summer celebration in town and Greg marched in the Honor Guard carrying the POW/MIA flag.  It means a lot to him to carry that particular flag.  He carries it to honor his friends and fellow servicemen and women who didn't return.  It always makes me proud -- and it makes me cry a little bit too.

On Sunday I finished the binding on another quilt.  (Have I said it before?  I LOVE doing binding!!)  This isi another top that I found buried in The Huge Pile O' Tops.  (After owning a shop for 20 years -- believe me -- I've literally got a huge pile of quilt tops!)  I can't even tell you who's pattern it is -- maybe an Atkinson Designs? -- but I like it!  All I did was meandering but I think it looks okay.  It's kind of fun to finish up some of these long time UFO's!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Dinah & Queenie

I finally remembered to get photos of my two newest quilts.  These are the ones that Joyce (in SC) quilted for me.  Both of these are lap-size quilts and Joyce did a wonderful job quilting both of them!

This first quilt is Dinah's Delight.  This was a mystery quilt on my website a while back.  I'll be sending this pattern off to my publisher in a few days.  I just need to re-check piece cutting numbers and yardages and it takes a while because I've got three sizes of the quilt in the pattern.  (Gotta tell ya -- numbers are the WORST part of designing -- at least for me!)  I got interrupted before I got a close-up photo of the quilting on Dinah but it's just really nice.  Joyce did a kind of leafy/viney design in the blocks and they're just really pretty!

Then there's Queenie.  I think Joyce really outdid herself on this piece!  This is the lap version of my Queen's Court quilt which has been around for a while.  I was never happy with the pattern because I didn't have a program that worked very well to do the graphics so I kind of buried the pattern and waited.  Now both my computer graphics program and my level of expertise are better so I've redone the pattern and sent it off to my publisher.  Finally!

Can you see the quilting?  Here are a couple of close-ups.

Here's another one.

I've loved this pattern and the original quilt for a very long time -- but I think I just might have a new favorite!  If you've got a minute, please check out Joyce's blog at:

Also, if you've got time, check out Joyce's buddy Roada F. Tripp's blog.  It's a hoot!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Judging Day!

I was one of three quilt judges at the Iowa State Fair on Monday.  What a day!  I've been lucky enough to have been asked to do this for several years now and I really look forward to it.  It's a privilege to be allowed to judge these works of love and art.  I don't know how many pieces we judged this year but I do know that my poor brain had turned to mush by the end of the day.  We started at 8 a.m. and I staggered out the door to head home at 8:30 p.m.   It was a very long day but there were lots of rewards that made it worthwhile.  The quilts were beautiful, interesting, unique, astonishing and there were even a couple of surprises during the day.  An added bonus was getting to spend time with some wonderful and dedicated women (and a few men too!) who make everything happen once the quilt(s) are entered in the State Fair.  On top of all that -- the salad lunch was WONDERFUL -- but then, it always is! 

We took a few photos at the beginning of the day as things were getting started.  Quite frankly, by the end of the day I never even thought about taking more photos because I was just too darned tired!  Here's what I have:

I know this all looks pretty chaotic -- but it's actually very well organized.  All of the items have been sorted into their individual categories and put in numerical order according to their category and division.

All of the pieces are handled carefully and respectfully as they're transferred from their category "pile" and laid out on the table to be judged.  Once judged, they're immediately folded, hangers are clipped on them and they're ready to be hung.

Almost ready to to go! 

Off we go!

I love this job!

Sunday Sojourn

Reiman Gardens in Ames is wonderful!  I'd never been there before so I wasn't sure what to expect.  What I found were some really nice people, lots of educational info and some beautiful gardens.  I have to admit that I was disappointed to see that the roses were pretty much past their prime -- but that wasn't the fault of the gardeners!  With the horrible heat we've been having for the past few weeks my roses look pretty stressed too!  The rest of the gardens were lovely and they had a bed of moss roses that looked like a Fairy Carpet!  It was gorgeous and the photo doesn't do it justice!

They also had some bugs in the garden -- big bugs.  I mean REALLY BIG BUGS! 

They had a number of these huge bugs scattered around the grounds.  They were wonderful -- even the spider!

Although it was horribly hot and humid on Satuday we really enjoyed the gardens and have already talked about another visit after the weather cools off.  We spent quite a long time in the butterfly enclosure and loved it!  For me, watching beautiful butterflies fluttering around has the same affect as watching tropical fish swim around in an aquarium......... Kind of peaceful and soothing.

By the way -- they also have the biggest Garden Gnome I've ever seen!  Wow!  (The gnome is the one with the big red hat!)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

South Carolina Galaxy & State Fair Judging!

Through a mutual friend I made a new friend who lives in South Carolina -- Joyce G!  Joyce does absolutely stunning machine quilting and just quilted two lap quilts for me -- which I'll show you when I get the binding finished.  Anyway -- Joyce made my Galaxy quilt and quilted it and it's wonderful!  She was kind enough to send me a photo. 

I think it looks great!  BTW:  The black image at the bottom is Joyce's dog Rocky.  I hope he likes the quilt as much as I do!

Greg and I are heading to Ames today to visit Reiman Gardens.  I really want to see their rose gardens and the butterfly house.  Unfortunately, we're under another "heat advisory" until Wednesday night so it's going to be beastly hot.  Thankfully, they've got several buildings that have A/C so we'll have places to get cooled off.  I know conditions won't be ideal but this is the opportunity I have so I'm going to grab it!

Actually, we're visiting The Gardens on our way to Des Moines for the night.  I'm judging at the Iowa State Fair tomorrow -- which is my very favorite quilting gig!  I'm a little nervous simply because I've been told that they've received a record number of entries this year.  That's wonderful!  Last year there were 860+ entries in the quilting categories -- everything from centerpieces, table runners and miniatures to king size quilts!  .....this year there are even more??!!!  Holy Buckets!!  This is gonna be FUN!!!  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 29, 2011


About 10 days ago we awoke to a siren sounding at about 4 a.m.  Pretty frightening to wake up to that!  Our area got blasted with very powerful straight line winds which I've since learned is called a "derecho."  I've been told that in our area the winds reached 139 mph!  We were very lucky.  We lost some very large tree limbs, our patio table was smashed and we had a couple days of clean-up work but really -- considering the damage in the surrounding area -- we're just fine.  One of my cousins lost the roof on her home, a family from our church lost their entire home (which was only 8 years old), and several farmsteads lost every building on the farm.  They're not even able to estimate the livestock or crop damage yet.

I honestly didn't get too shook up until we took an early morning drive to check on an elderly relative.  There were power line poles broken off and scattered across the country road like twigs -- one after the other after the other..........  Power lines laying all over the roads and in the fields, trees broken off (not uprooted, mind you -- BROKEN OFF!) and pieces and parts of building and farm equipment scattered all over the place.

It was a number of days before the folks out in the country got their power back and of course, this time of year the heat and humidity were terrible.  

I'll say it again.  We were VERY LUCKY.  We had some huge branches on our roof but they didn't do any damage and our patio table was smashed.  Big deal.  No one lost their life that we've heard of and that's a true blessing.

Here's our poor patio table.  I have no idea where the milk jugs came from but they ended up on our deck.

Overdue Update

I've decided that I'm a terrible blogger.  I get so busy "doing" that I don't even think about "posting" until long after the fact and I never seem to have a camera with me when I need it.  I'm sorry.  I'll try to do better!  Okay. 'Nuff said about that.

Looking back.........  we were getting ready to vend in Paducah when I posted the last time.  We had a wonderful time -- as usual.  I've said it often -- Paducah is my absolute favorite show!  I LOVE doing that show.  This year the show turned out to have some real challenges associated with it.  The whole town was getting prepared to be FLOODED!  We arrived in town with a little trepidation because we knew the situation was getting very serious and we weren't sure, at that point, whether the AQS would even be able to hold the show.  Silly us!  In a matter of 36 hours Bonnie Browning and her astonishing corps of people managed to relocate several HUNDRED quilt entries, several HUNDRED vendors and I-don't-know-how-many classes.  Add to that getting new maps printed AFTER re-routing all the various free bus routes that transported people to all the new venues.  It was a Herculean Feat and I don't know how they managed it.

I know there were a handful of disgruntled vendors and I imagine there were a few attendees who  decided to stay home but overall -- it was a really outstanding show!  The attitude seemed to be that "we're all in this together so we might as well have a good time!"  It was absolutely great!  We didn't even have any bitchers or complainers show up in our booth -- which is REALLY unusual!  (It seems like there are always a couple of those no matter where you go.) 

All in all -- the show was good (albeit a lot more exciting than we anticipated!), people were wonderful, sales were just fine, the food was great and once again we had a wonderful time in Paducah! 

Here are a couple of photos of our booth in Paducah.  I should have gotten our sign in the photo!  Never thought about that!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've really enjoyed the last couple of weeks because I was finally able to spend some quality time in my sewing room.  ('Bout time too!)  I got another row of blocks made for my scrappy pineapple.  I think this quilt is going to grow from a lap quilt into a larger one.  I really like these pineapple blocks and they're actually fun to make.  I've been working out of my tub of 1 1/2" strips -- so that REALLY makes it easy!  Yup, this one is definitely going to grow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Has Arrived!

I planted some bulbs last fall and I've been waiting (not so) patiently for them to come up.  They not only came up -- they're blooming!  What a treat to look outside and see these sunny little flowers from my kitchen window!  Now I'm waiting for my crocuses......... 

When Greg and I decided to get married we received this guy as an engagement gift.  (Can't explain it -- sometimes you've just gotta go with it.........!)  We love him and he comes out every year and sits on our front stoop waiting for Easter.  By the way -- he lights up!

I've actually been doing some sewing in an attempt to get ready to vend in Paducah.  I'll be selling my own patterns but I also demo and sell patterns from Little Foot.  They're top-method foundation pieced and once you realize how easy they are it's pretty mindless -- which is why I can demo them (and talk to people while I'm doing it!)  I finished 12 blocks of Hunter's Star.  I like it!  Now I just need to get the other 12 blocks finished.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting Back To It

I actually wrote this post a couple of weeks ago and never got it posted because I was interupted.  Anyway-- I actually DID get this little bit of sewing accomplished while my hand was healing.  My handis almost (but not quite!) back to normal.  I still have a little pain when I try to do or lift too (which I'm sure will go away eventually) but overall it feel SO MUCH BETTER than prior to the surgery.  I'm glad I had it done.

I couldn't stand not having my hands on fabric for any longer!  I had this runner that I'd machine quilted quite a while ago but had never bound.  I managed to get the binding sewn on before I had my surgery in hopes that I'd at least be able to do some binding.  It wasn't working for quite a while.  I'd try a couple of stitches each night......  and each night I'd be able to do a few more than the day before so I just kept at it.  A couple of days ago I was finally able to do the last 18" of binding.  HURRAY!!!!!  I now consider myself ALMOST back to normal!  It's nice to get something finished! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Okay.  I'm still dealing with the carpal tunnel surgery.  It's really surprising how many things take BOTH hands to accomplish -- or at least make easier.  I've been doing fairly well but it's been frustrating to me to actually have time to work on designing or sewing -- and I can't do either one!  I've been using my left hand to run the mouse (and I'm getting better at it!) but everything takes SOOOOO much longer and I don't have the patience for that.  When I'm designing I need to get my ideas down in a hurry -- before I foget!!  Left-handed "mousing" just doesn't cut it!  Sewing blocks would work just fine but I don't have anything for my new design cut out and I can't use a rotary cutter or scissors yet.  Once again -- frustrating!  I"VE GOT STUFF TO DO AND I WANT TO DO IT!  Okay.  I'm better now -- maybe.......!

For any of you contemplating CT surgery -- got for it!  I had very little pain after the surgery; far less than I expected and certainly less than I've been putting up with for the past few months!  My hand and wrist already feel better even though I'm still restricted to no lifting with my hand and they haven't removed the stitches yet.  So -- I'm hoping that in a couple more weeks I'll be back to normal again.

For those of you who want to see the icky stuff I've included a couple of photos.  One with the cast they put on after surgery (which came off a few days ago) and another of the stitches (which come out tomorrow).  BYW:  The purple stuff you see around the wound is the marker that the surgeon used.  I think I'm going to have to use Goo-Gone to get it off! 


I didn't much care for his stitching.............  Honestly!   But I guess that's not the point! 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beware! A New Scam!

I was checking my e-mail before I went to bed last night and received an e-mail from a friend that I usually only hear from a couple of times a year because that's about how often our paths cross. My thoughts were that it was good to hear from her but kind of a strange time for it. Okay. So, I read the message was a message of distress! She was (supposedly!) in the U.K., had been robbed at knife-point, had all her ID, credit cards and cell phone stolen and was in dire need of help. She had (supposedly, again!) reported everything to the local police. She wanted badly to come home but the hotel wouldn't let her leave until she'd paid her bill so could I please loan her $2500 so she could catch a flight home within the next 12 hours? It had me going for a couple of minutes because I really like this woman and would help her if I could! Then........ I started to realize that there were a whole lot of other people in her life that she'd be contacting for help before my name came up on the list. Besides, she's a smart woman and would have immediately contacted the American Embassy for help. Okay. Got that figured out. Still.............. So, early this morning I got on the phone and called her if, for no other reason than to let her know that her computer had been hacked. Apparently, I was the umpteenth person to call because she immediately told me that no, she wasn't in the UK and no, she hadn't sent the e-mail. (I knew it but it's always nice to get confirmation!) She did, however, mention that it was nice and kind of surprising to hear from so many people! So.............


Be Careful! This looked like a legitimate e-mail from a friend, it got past all my computer security stuff and my spam stuff because it was "from" someone I'd approved and the e-mail itself sounded almost (but not quite!) like an upset, desperate friend who needed help. If you get ANYTHING like this please check it out before you act! I'm very suspicious about these kind of things and it had me going for a couple of minutes!

On another note,,,,,,,,, I'm now typing with two hands -- sort of! I can now use the middle finger of my right hand so typing is going MUCH faster! Huh. I've got another three days before the big bandage and brace come off.  So far so good -- but that's MY opinion........... Greg may see it differently!  (BTW:  He made a GREAT homemade pizza last night!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Successful Surgery!

Well my carpal tunnel surgery went just fine and now I'm in the recovery stage.  I'm still at the point where I need to keep my arm up to avoid swelling but that should end tonight.  Actually, there's been very little pain -- more along the lines of discomfort rather than pain and that makes it a whole lot easier.  I'm a little bit ambidexterous and that helps however, typing one-handed is a pain!

I'd intended to post these photos before my surgery but that didn't happen.  Guess it's a case of better late than never!  This pineapple is one I've been working off and on for a while.  It started out as a demo block at my booth at shows and I liked it so much and it was fun (and somewhat mindless!) to work on when I didn't want to have to think too hard.  (All I had to think about was light and dark.)  Now I've got 12 blocks finished and I think I'll keep going.  I'm using the top method of paper piecing so the blocks all come out to be the same size.  Boy!  Does that make a difference!  A number of years ago I made a bunch of pineapple blocks using a pineapple ruler..............Not good.  The blocks were all different sizes and there was no way they were going to go together so they ended up wadded up somewhere in the depths of my sewing room..

This wreath is (was!) a Christmas present for a friend that didn't get finished in time.  (Sound familiar?)  I finally got the binding sewn down just a couple of weeks ago.  (You know I've got to be hurting when I don't do my binding because I LOVE doing binding.)  This is made from four more pineapple blocks.  The only thing that's changed is the color placement.  Kinda fun!  I think I'll wrap it up and send it as a Christmas in July gift!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Off The Grid

Once again I fell off the grid with my blogging.  I didn't intend to -- but, as the saying goes, life happens!  I thought I was doing pretty well until I realized that I needed to get patterns to my publisher and they all needed to be re-checked and re-vamped so that they'd be compatible with the publishing software.  I didn't think that would be much of a problem.  HOWEVER.........  almost over night the carpal tunnel that had been bothering me "just a little" decided to become REALLY painful and that curtailed any extracurricular computer time!  I knew I couldn't have the surgery right away so I've been trying to "save" my hand/wrist/arm as much as possible.  However, since I'm scheduled for surgery on Thursday I really don't care any more!  Now I've got some catching up to do!

My friend Rosanne and her husband are now living in Italy - which in itself is pretty neat.  Not long ago I received an e-mail from her with this photo attached.  Here's the story.  Quite a while ago Rosanne purchased a pattern and kit to make my Red Hot Leftovers quilt.  Honestly, it was so long ago that I'd forgotten she'd done that!  She took the kit with her to Italy, pieced it there, brought it back to Iowa at Christmas time to have it machine quilted and it's now hanging in their apartment in Italy.  Wow!  Not only does it look nice but it's well-traveled!  (It's really "odd" to me that something of "mine" is in Italy!  The quilting world is getting smaller all the time!)  Pretty neat!

Then, about 10 days ago I received an e-mail from Sharon in IL asking me about a  quilt pattern that I'd had on my website a while back.  Turns out it was Fractured Stars, which I had on the website as a mystery quilt.  In the course of e-mailing back & forth, Sharon sent me a photo of her quilt, which she made using her scraps.  I really like it!

Sharon also sent me a photo of her friend Tina's quilt -- which is also done with scraps but Tina used muslin for her background.  Looks good to me!  What I think is pretty neat is that Tina reversed one little piece in the pattern and ended up with a pinwheel in the center of her stars.  Who knew?  I think it looks good and I really like it a lot!

Thank you to Rosanne, Sharon and Tina!