Friday, December 12, 2014

Cross Stitching 12 Days of Christmas Freebies!

Look at this adorable pattern! It's the first release in the CrossStitcher and Cross Stitch Collection's "12 Days of Christmas" series!

According to the site, each day they're releasing a new freebie, and each freebie is only available for a few days.

I'm not affiliated with either site - I just wanted to post this here so nobody misses out!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Excitement Arrived in Today's Mail

A dear friend of mine sent me a fabulous package (talk about “antiparcelation”, Lauri!)  Inside were some fabulous pieces of her work (she is nimble with the ink and iron).  How long, Lauri, does it take you to setup and print a single-color page?  Honestly, I really am surrounded by some seriously talented friends!

She also included some fabulous quilt books.  But one made me cry…. The new Gail Pan book.  She is my FAVORITE embroidery designer (check out her free Christmas patten here), but she’s from Australia (where the cost of the books and shipping is very prohibitive).  I’ve wanted this book since I first read about it on her blog… and now I have it! 

I need to stitch!  I need to go home and pull out my Christmas embroidery and hang it up!  Why is it not the weekend so I can pour myself into my quilt room and start pulling fabric?!? I’m going to vibrate with anticipation for the rest of this very long work day!

I am blessed.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Big Reveal: Japanese Butterfly Quilt

Here it is!  My sister’s Birthday gift!  I saw a quilt like this on a Japanese quilt magazine’s website and knew it would be a lot of fun to make for my sister.  My sister’s house has a lot of wood, world prints, about-to-travel-the-world-out-of-a-leather-satchel feel to it.  I could just imagine this quilt strewn across her white and tan divan (with a cat or two holding it in place).

There was no pattern so I pulled out the draft pad and set to work.  It’s made from a Kate Spain Terrain layer cake with very little waste! I drafted a way to paper-piece and THEN piece the butterflies.  I hope to one day share the pattern with everyone. 

Now to make one for myself…

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tip: The Ease of Adding a Label

I'm so geeked - so close to finishing my sister's quilt!  But I wanted to make sure I didn't rush the ending of it so today I focused on the label.  I've discussed tricks to creating decorative labels in the past, but, since the rest of the quilt is pretty "busy", I wanted something simple and sweet.

Here's my method for adding a label to the quilt. I perform these steps after quilting & trimming the top but before adding the binding.

1. Using leftover fabric from your backing (I normally used the strips leftover when I trim my quilt after quilting), sew 1" strips to each side of your label.

2. Using the edge of your white fabric as a guide, press the top and left edges of your backing fabric to the back of the label.  These will be your applique edges.

3. Align your label to the lower, right corner of the quilt back.  Pin in place.  Hand-applique the upper and left edges of the label to the back of the quilt.

4. Perform your normal steps for adding the binding to the quilt, catching the right and lower edges of the label in your machine stitching.  When you sew the binding down in the back, it will cover the raw edges of the label.


This method has several advantages:
  • Because you border all sides with coordinating backing pieces, the applique stitches blend in beautifully into backing.
  • Also, since I'm not appliqueing the white square directly to the background, the seam won't "shadow through" to the front of the label.
  • For those that don't enjoy appliqueing, you only have 2 sides to stitch down.
  • The other two sides are secured in the binding. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Binding in Solid Black

These eyes aren't getting any younger!

Too often, lately, I've had to use a black or dark blue binding on a quilt (love the way it frames it).  Do you know this trick?  Since the front and the back of the fabric is solid - you can't tell them apart - make sure you mark both ends with a yellow or white pencil.

That way, when you join your binding strips, you can place "right sides together" instead of sewing haphazardly and creating a serpentine mess!

Why does this matter?  You don't want to sew 7 strips together and then discover, when pressing, that some seams face up and some don't.  AARGH!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

TIP: Threading the Sewing Machine Needle

Sometimes it's the littlest things... old trick but worth repeating.

SCENE: This weekend, late at night, when my eyes were tired but my spirit was high.

I was quilting a gift when I needed to change spools.  Well.... late at night, tired eyes, black thread in front of a black walking foot.... frustrating, right?

I glanced over and saw the white scrap of fabric.  It covered the black part of the walking foot, reflected the sewing machine light up, and made the needle eye more apparent.  Threaded it in the first try!

Sometimes if just feels like you've won the Super Bowl, and, yes, I did a victory dance!  Sometimes it's the smallest things.... 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quilts as Comfort

I haven't quilted much in the last two years. I kinda lost interest after making quilt after quilt for others. Instead, I've spent most of my time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and the freedom.

Funny when times get anxious one returns to the comfort of the quilt. It represents stability, comfort and warmth.

Here's the backing to my latest creation. I'm also eyeing two more that just need bindings... It's going to be a long winter.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quilts Aren't Just For Beds, Ya Know?

A very dear friend of mine lost his Mother last summer.  I made him a quilt from her Oxfords shirts.  I was thrilled with how well the lap quilt went together.  I recently asked him if he uses it as much as his wife uses the quilt made from her late Mother's clothing.  

Answer? No.  

Because he loved it so much he added straps to it and has it hanging over their bed!

Isn't it lovely?  It looks like it was made for it, but it wasn't.  I'm tickled pink!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ginger Made Me Do It!

While on vacation, Ginger is cracking the whip to ensure I get this Japanese butterfly top done.  She must be a good taskmaster - those are the only butterflies left to add!

She is a bit of a fabric snob, though. She's laying on imported cotton!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Believe Christmas Sampler

Have you been to Red Brolly's blog lately? She released this free adorable Christmas Sampler today. In addition to the free pattern, she also offers some great advice on stitching the Satin Stitch (I love the stitch but have not mastered it). Stop by her blog and DEFINITELY check out her other freebies.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lots of Couples Getting Their Vitamin Z's

Steve and I went to the Detroit Zoo on Monday.  He needs to build up his stamina after his surgery and the new geocaches were out.

It seems like everyone and everything had a buddy with them!  Lots of pairs!

Maybe you should grab a buddy for a visit?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scott Fountain - Belle Isle

Ok, my friends.  I won't deny it.  After such a brutal winter and then a loved one's health scare, I spent the weekend outside sightseeing, barbecuing, and geocaching.  It was the perfect holiday weekend!

As some of you may know, I've written tons of posts about Belle Isle over the last few years.  It's a true gem in the Detroit River, and now it's Michigan's 102nd State Park.  I have probably visited monthly for the last decade - all seasons - and have read books and articles voraciously.  One of the joys of "state parkhood" is the time and money being invested to clean up and repair many of famous structures on Belle Isle.

A few weeks ago I shared some pictures of the fabulous Scott Fountain on this blog.  James Scott was a famous, lazy, womanizing scoundrel (Detroit loves its bad boys!) who cheated men, used woman, and had an all-around good time while alive.  When he died, he left his estate to the City of Detroit to build a fountain on Belle Isle.  The catch?  They had to erect a life-size statue of him overlooking the fountain and facing the Detroit skyline!

James Scott seated on the left side

This I knew.  BEAUTIFUL fountain!  And with the DNR running the Isle, many of my generation (and older) are seeing the fountain - all three levels - running for the first time.

Level One

Level Two

Level Three

Here's a picture my sister took when she and my Dad visited the fountain.  My father had never seen the entire fountain running! And he grew up within a few miles of Belle Isle!

Source: Lorna Hadley

Imagine my surprise when I read an article that the fountain lights up at night!  No!  Really?!?!? Never, ever, ever knew that.  So, the moment Steve felt well enough to travel, we went down to see for ourselves.  Here's our photos from Thursday:


If you get a chance, it's worth a visit.  The Fountain will run 24/7 all summer, and the lights kick on around 9pm!  

This was a great way to kickoff a red, white and blue weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Detroit Beauty and "Irony"?

I've spent many hours this weekend on my sister's butterfly quilt - about a half day Saturday and Sunday.  And the other half?  I explored Detroit!

Yesterday was fabulous!  Lorna and I spent Saturday afternoon on Belle Isle. This was the first time that I've ever seen all 3 levels of the Scott fountain running!  Gorgeous!  Afterwards, we visited the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory and lunched at Slow's.

Today was an adventure to the Heidelberg Project.  The Heidelberg Project is an Urban art museum, created in 1986, that uses household objects to create conversation pieces.  It makes you think.

And one of my favorite parts of it?  The use of an ironing board in one of the exhibits:

And back to the ironing board I go.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big and Beautiful Traverse City (Barn) Quilts!

I had the most glorious trip to Traverse City this past weekend with my Sweetie, Steve.

We went up for an extra special geocaching trip - grabbing several historic caches in Grand Traverse County.

We spent Saturday morning touring the Old Mission Penninsula where I got to combine both my passions - quilting and caching!

Welcome to the Old Mission Penninsula Barn Quilt tour!  In addition to a lovely wooden quilt squares displayed in the most idyllic settings, each barn had a corresponding geocache nearby.  The caches were large and inventive - just like the barn quilts!

Miller Quilt Barn

Myer Quilt Barn

Feiger Quilt Barn

Johnson Quilt Barn 2

Chown Quilt Barn

Krupka Quilt Barn

Lehto Quilt Barn

Johnson Quilt Barn

Lardie Quilt Barn

Florence Quilt Barn
In addition to the barns, we enjoyed the lighthouse, the General Store and a visit to the Historic Inn on the Peninsula.

At the Old Mission Lighthouse