Sunday, April 27, 2014


I've always admired quilting - have been drawn to it since I was a teenager and my Mom had our neighbor's Mom make each of us 3 kids quilts from her scraps.   I think they were Christmas gifts.?  We were able to CHOOSE the backing fabric (mine was purple, of course).  I remember thinking THAT side was the front but I loved all the scrap squares on the back.  I took it with me when I left home, but it disappeared somewhere along the way.  I miss it still.

I also remember going on a family trip to visit my Dad's Uncle Lester in Lewiston, Idaho. I think I was about 8 or 9.   As we came close to Lewiston, we were high in the mountains and the valley looked like a patchwork QUILT to me.  Even then, I'm not sure why, but I thought of quilting.

 While doing shows in the early 90's, I met Jean Adkins and her husband, James.  We traveled the circuit together and sometimes Jean roomed with us (there were 3-4 women rooming and sharing expenses in those days - GREAT FUN!).  Jean invented a paddle- like thimble and was selling it.  I so envied her quilting talent and finally, I asked her to help me make a hand quilted quilt of my own.  She had owned a fabric store in her home in South Carolina so she picked out fabric for me (in pinks and greens) and started me along my quilting path.  She taught me every step of the way!  We used the Dresden Plate pattern as that was the one she started her beginner students on!  I cut the plates and sewed them together on my sewing machine and then HAND-APPLIQUED them onto the background piece.

I've ALWAYS been drawn to applique but I'm not very good at it.  I was able to applique the plates onto the background pieces though and then sewed the top together by machine.  

I think the year was around '96 or '97 because Mindy had graduated from high school, was off to college, and Don decided he didn't want to miss out on the fun.  We started traveling from show to show, he being the pack mule and driver.  It was wonderful!!  We stayed with Jean and James in the motorhome sometimes.  Wonderful memories - we really enjoyed our 14 or so years on the road.  We both were sad when the economy kinda told us we couldn't continue!  I think Don would STILL be on the road if we could find the right product...but we also have Nan to think of and will stay put for now.  I'm not actually sure if either of us could handle the work load anymore - we are getting older, you know.

Back to my quilting...I remember appliqueing some of the plates down while visiting with Jean and James in the motorhome in Albuquerque in January.  Boy, was it cold! and SNOWY!

It took me a total of about 7 years to finish the hand quilting - mainly because I was fixated on being the "perfect hand quilter" and I wasn't proud of my stitches which weren't as small, even, and perfect as Jean's.  Most of that time, the quilt stayed basted together but not worked on at all.

In January of about 2003, we were doing a show in Phoenix and we were there for a whole week.  Don got to attend some car races and I stayed in the condo and QUILTED all day.  By the end of the week, I had accepted the fact my stitches would probably NEVER be like Jean's but I also knew I LOVED THE PROCESS.  

Now I have hand quilted a project for each of my 3 daughters.  But this one was the first

Dresden Plate - finished 2004
I'm very proud of it and so thankful to Jean for teaching me!!

I hope to NEVER have empty hands again! 

Now I plan handwork for the evenings when I can.  I'm not very good at just sitting!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Back to Amanda's and Zach's quilts..



Here are photos of today's progress.  First, Amanda's first 4 rows

and Zach's first 7 rows...

I'm really excited to get these two done tomorrow - at least the tops!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Here's Carin's quilt

Here's Carin's quilt

 Carin brought her quilt over so I could get photos of it.  I'm not sure why I don't have any in my file it is.  This one was pieced with her favorite colors - ORANGE - and then hand quilted by me.  Her niece Emily must be taking a little after Aunt Carin with that favorite color!!  There's NO LABEL on her quilt either - man, do I have to get better at that!!
Now all three of my daughters have something I hand quilted.  I love hand quilting!! It's so restful and peaceful to me.  My thanks goes out to Jean Adkins for starting me out.  My first is a Dresden Plate - pieces of each plate were machine sewn and then I appliqued each Plate to the background fabric.  The fabrics are dusty greens, mauves, cremes, my choices of the day.  HOWEVER,  I must do another for myself from my TODAY colors which would all be BRIGHT and HAPPY!!

I'll add photos of that quilt when I get to it!!

Amanda's and Zach's quilts are coming along.  I finished sewing together the first 6 rows of Zach's today - but I must stop for today as my hubby is taking me OUT TO DINNER for my birthday - although it's one day late - but then who's counting when you get to spend time together at the steak house!.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Nan had her swallow test on Friday - and passed with flying colors.  We can now give her back some of the food she has been missing.  Only in little amounts as we over-did it on Friday and we're sorry we did!  

We're going to talk with Bobby (female) her speech therapist, today about how to add food along with the feeds to make sure she isn't losing any of the pounds we've been able to add lately.  

She seems to have come out of the cloud the pneumonia put her in and I'm thankful for that too!  We're watching for any cough and will have the nurse check her lungs weekly - pneumonia is still the concern.

I've been back to sewing a bit lately.  Finished a baby quilt for giveaway (I'm looking for a good place locally) and have all the squares for Zach's and Amanda's quilts ready to sew together.   Zach has installed new "stuff" in our computer so we now have Windows 7 (instead of SP) - everything seems to run better and I'm so glad we have a "computer tech" in the family.  He's so good to come see us and FIX things while he's here.

Here are photos of squares finished for A's and Z's quilts.  I hope to get them to top "stage" soon!
Amanda's squares are the second photo, Zach's is first - I'll get this blog stuff yet!!  Here's a photo of what's on my design wall today.  I've made enough squares for 4 baby quilts - all will go in my pile to give to some babies soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One more quilt..

Well, maybe 2...This first one I just SOLD through my Etsy shop -  It was purchased by a gentleman in New Jersey who took it to Japan to give as a gift.  Now I'm even more international as one of my first quilts went to Denmark and I sent a few to Australia.  Tooting my own horn, I know.  The only thing wrong with Etsy is that there are SO MANY items for sale, your item gets lost!!  I'm pleased to have sold it though.

I love red/white/blue quilts!  This one I used a cream instead of white so it really looks "Americana".  I just found another one in the current Fons and Porter magazine - designed to be a Quilt of Valor - and I'll be checking my stash of red/white/blues to see if I might just have enough.  (more later on that)

Here's the second photo.  This one is called Trade Winds and I used a beautiful Hoffman jelly roll plus more cream.  I just happen to have a new jelly roll in blue/tourquoise that I might just have to make up in this pattern with white (or maybe a sand color which would identify it as "beach"?)

And here's a photo of our Beau with hair

and ready for summer!

More tomorrow - thanks for looking!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Who's Stefani?

She's Nan's caregiving helper!  And boy were we lucky!  She's been with us for over a year now and her attention is all on Nan.  From helping Nan with her shower and pills and feeds to just watching a movie with her, Stefani has allowed me the freedom to enjoy some of my own time.  Which means I get to be in my sewing room ... quilting!!

We're really working hard getting Nan back to where she was before the pneumonia  and the feed tube became our new normal.  We have PT and OT coming for a total of 5 days/week and Stefani participates with them building an exercise program that will continue to build her strength when they release her.  Our OT, Margie, has been introducing us to a program for Parkinson's patients to help their voice stay "big" as well as their steps, arm movements, etc.  We'll have to continue the program in one form or another 7 days/week but I think we're really going to see improvement.  Stefani has become my training partner to make sure we don't slide back from the exercise program.

Here's the gift we gave Stefani at Christmas time.  She had never had a quilt of her own and I think she's really enjoying it. The pattern is Arkansas Crossing from the Quilts from the Heart book by Karin Renaud.

To say we're "thankful" for  Stefani is such an understatement.  We're learned to look forward to her hours with us and depend on her help - probably more than we should.  She has really become a part of my FAMILY! and we're happy her family is willing to share her with us. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I received a call from the hospital speech therapist this morning to schedule a swallow test for Nan.  She and our home speech therapist will set up the schedule.  As for me, I'm really excited and encouraged by Nan's progress.  Her transfers and walking trips to and from her bed are one-person help again  YEAH!

By the way, in case someone other than me reads this, a little explanation of who Nan is.  She's my Mom!  When Cathy and Carin were little they called her Nannie (They had a Nana, too) and as they grew up that was shortened to "Nan".  I remember when we would visit Mom when the girls were little, my brother would often say when he had children, they would NOT call her Nan....well they all do and so do we!  My Mom has many names, the legal one is Jessie (she doesn't like it much), her nickname was Toni (her dad called her that and she likes it).  But we all call her Nan.

Quilting related:  I've started work on Zach's and Amanda's quilts.  I should be able to take photos of some of the squares soon.  Here are a couple other projects (purses) I've made recently.  These are great as there are 8 pockets on the inside and one on the outside.  I've actually sold these to people who where going to use them as diaper bags and overnight bags (they are roomy) but I use mine as my purse.
Stefani's bag

Raylena's bag

I love making things that are practical and useful.  What do you think?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The QUILT at the Top of the Page

This is a double Irish Chain pattern by Eleanor Burns.  It's HUGE - I think it measures about 94" x 114" or something like that.  I made it for Mindy (our youngest) and our SIL KyleI think I started it about 2007 and finished it last fall.  It fits on their queen sized bed all the way to the floor!  The applique was designed by Kyle and featured in our old business as Celtic Hearts.  I loved the design and since I'm always drawn to applique, I used that method here.  I must admit my applique skills are at the beginner level - but I completely enjoyed the process.  This quilt I hand quilted.  That's part of why it took so long to complete.  Now all three of my daughters have quilts I hand quilted.  I hope they'll enjoy them for a long time!!

Mike and Peggy left this morning :( and although it was hard to see them go, I kept reminding myself they can't come back until they leave.  They'll take about 5-6 weeks to get back to Maine and they certainly deserve a restful trip home.  We so appreciated their help while they were here and Mom thrived with all of the attention!  She loves to just sit and listen to us as we visit and tell stories - and we did a lot of that!  Enjoy the trip home you two and know we'll be following the blog to see where you are!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Grandkid's Quilts (Part 2)

Grandkid's Quilts (Part 2)

 Here's Ben's quilt - another Bonnie Hunter design, Incredible Scrappy Bargello.  I enjoyed making this one too.  Lots of pieces and the top took longer than normal, but I think the result is wonderful.  The quilt measures 67" x 87".

Ben's front - bordered with frogs
Ben's back - lots of his favorite GREEN

Beth's quilt is another favorite - I love the 30's reproductions.  I thought I'd use up lots of my stash - but alas I still have lots more.  Beth's quilt pattern is 54-40 or Fight blocks plus Shoo Fly blocks.  I can't put my finger on the book at the moment but I'll edit it when I find it.  Beth likes purple and "girly" stuff and I think this does the trick!
Beth's quilt - measures 58" x 76"

Nathaniel is into Marvel comics too and his favorite color is blue.  This one is Arkansas Crossroads and measures 60" x 76".
Nathaniel's Arkansas Crossroads

Matthew likes Spiderman and Red.  I used Bonnie Hunters Dancing 9 Patch again.  This one measures 57" x 57".
Matthew's Dancing 9 Patch
Matthew's back

Lastly, we come to William's quilt.  It measures 50"x62" and is from Quilts from the Heart by Karin Renaud called "Center Squares".  Spongebob Squarepants is highlighted here.
Lots of SpongeBob fabric in this one!
The back of William's quilt.

So that's it!  10 quilts made by a loving Grandma!

I have two more to make - Amanda and Zach.  Patterns are chosen, fabric organized, and I'm ready to go!  (I made Connor's quilt last summer, his actually started the 13 - but I can't find the photos.  I'll keep looking so I can add his quilt here too.)

And more later, as I work on Amanda's and Zach's.  

We had good words from Nan's primary doctor today, too.  So, that means ALL IS WELL WITH ME!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's the Beginning...

It's the beginning of my new blog...WELCOME.

I've thought about writing a blog for some time now, and since my brother Mike is here from Maine I decided to take advantage of him and finally BEGIN. 

Recently, I finished 10 quilts for Cathy's children (my eldest daughter by 6 minutes).  They live in New Mexico and I don't get to see them as often as I'd like but I decided last August it would be great to send them some lovin' from their Grandma. 

My plan was to use up some of my fabric stash and also use some fabric that might be special to each of them.  I will say I used up quite a bit of fabric making these 10...fell in LOVE with scrap quilting, but I still have LOTS to use!! 

The first is Nick's quilt since he's the oldest.  I used Bonnie Hunter's pattern Bricks and Stepping Stones and included musical fabrics as Nick loves his guitar.  The quilt measures about 65" x 83".
Nick's Front - see the guitars?

Here's the back - I had a layer cake of music fabric

 I quilted Nick's using a meandering stitch on my Brother 1500S - I love this machine, and my quilting has really gotten better with every quilt.

 Next is Chris's quilt.  Again I used one of Bonnie Hunter's designs, 4 Patch and Furrows.  Chris likes Marvel comics so I used that fabric on the back.  No creativity here, but I hope Chris likes all the busy-ness on the back.  It measures 68" x 83".
Marvel comics on the back

4 Patch and Furrows
Chris's quilt has the least quilting as I wanted to highlight the furrows on this one.  

Andrew's is another of Bonnie's patterns, Dancing 9 Patch.  I love this one - so fun.  Bordered with Buzz Lightyear - his favorite!  It measures 68" x 92".  I meander quilted this one, too.
Dancing 9 Patch with Buzz

Left over Buzz for the center!
Joe's is another Bonnie Hunter, Scrappy Trips.  It measures 69" x 93".  I really loved this pattern and making it was FUN.  I'm sure it will be one I repeat in the future.
Lots of color - and fun

Seems my backs got more and more creative - love it. 

Emily is the first girl in the family.  She loves orange!  This pattern is Disappearing 4 Squares and it's the only quilt in the 10 that I purchased all of the fabric.  It measures 59" x 75" and it sure is ORANGE!
I love how the colors POP on this one

Left over 4" squares added to the back   
I meander quilted Emily's, too.  

I'll save the last 5 quilts for tomorrow.  My purpose in listing the quilts is to have a journal of my finished projects as well as the story along the way.