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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Project

It's taken me a long time to find JUST the right reds for these cardinals.  Just to be different, one cardinal will be gold.  

The instructions say to read them over THOROUGHLY before starting.  I've read the instructions about 10 times now, but some parts aren't making sense.  This WILL be a challenge.  Good thing I bought extra fabric (you know, JUST in case).  Stay tuned for further details!          -Chris

Snowflake Table Topper - Complete

This pattern called for varying shades of gray, but I wanted something bright and cheerful to offset the mid-winter doldrums.  The pattern comes from the Village Creek ( in Lodi, WI.  (A quilt shop I need to visit and blog about soon).

I'm a little dissappointed in the backing fabric. Didn't notice the variation is shade until I got it home. Didn't think to center the light stripe until it was too late.  Oh well, live and learn.  Time to start another project!  :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mill House Quilts

A BIG "Thank You" to Karen at You made my day!

Karen let me know that the book I've been looking for was at Mill House Quilts, in Waunakee, WI.  Turns out, Laura Halpin, author of Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the "Little House on the Prairie" Series,  teaches classes there.  So I headed straight to "The Only Waunakee in the World." 

Mill House Quilts has a wealth of books, patterns, fabrics, supplies and some one-of-a-kind notions.   They offer a wide variety of classes - which are held on the second story.  They had a LOT of kits - which are nice for someone like me who isn't always certain which fabrics will work well together.  I snapped some pics of the beautiful fabrics and quilts.   

This is Cheaper by the Dozen.  I liked the quilted hearts:

This is called Splashed:

Cleaning Out the Sewing Room - This would be a great stash-buster:
Here are some of the fabrics.  I hope my pics will do justice to these beautiful prints:

And here's what I bought.  Can't wait to read my new book:

I'll definitely be visiting Mill House Quilts again soon!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Less is More

Put this project aside cuz I wasn't sure how to quilt it. I envisioned beautiful FMQ snowflakes fluttering down from the heavens. But that vision far exceeds my skill level. So I was stumped. Today it hit me. A simple design was all it needed.  I left the markings on so you could see the stitching. I used chalk on the blue portion. I LOVE working with chalk.  Its so forgiving if you make a mistake.

PS - If you are snowbound in the Southeastern states, I apologize for this snow-related post.  When we got 19 inches last month, I cringed every time I saw a sign that said "Let it Snow!"   Take Care - Chris

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Memory Lane

In the summer of 1980 I cooked at Hazen's Long Lake Lodge.  We worked hard, but time off was ALWAYS spent on the lake.  It was a wonderful summer - one of the best in my life.  Later I made this stitching to remember it by.  The picture hangs in my living room today.  Just for grins, I googled Hazen's LLL.  It has changed management, and the name is slightly different now.  But the lodge, the lake, and the woods all look the same!  You'll see a resemblance at: 

Seeing the current pics takes my breath away!  I always dreamed of returning some day as a guest.  Now I have to go back.  The great north woods are calling me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little House on the Prairie Musical and Quilts

Have YOU seen this book?  I can find it on the net, but saw just one short comment. 

Little House on the Prairie, The Musical ( came to town, with Melissa Gilbert playing Ma.  To kick the whole thing off, they held a real live hootenanny, which included teaching kids to quilt.  The hootenanny website referred to this book.  I missed these events, but heard they were amazing.  If Little House comes to your area, don't miss it!  

Meanwhile, if you've seen this book, please share an opinion?   Thanks!  - Chris

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Valentine Finish

I knew I had to get the lead out and finish this table runner. 

That is to say, I literally had to get pencil lead out of this quilt.  Thanks to all who offered tips!  Google told me to use an eraser.  Gee, like we need computers to tell us that! LOL

I decided to start with the gentlest suggestions and gradually move toward more drastic measures.  Soaked it in Quilt Wash for 3 hours - which made no difference at all.  Then I took a brand new bar of Ivory Soap and gently scrubbed on the stitching itself.  At first I thought the white soap was just accumulating on the quilt, but after rinsing it looked much better.   Phew, what a relief!

I hope your Valentine projects are coming along well, and without incident!  -Chris

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Horrible Hot Pads

You know what happens when you give someone beautiful hot pads? 

They don't use them.  I myself am guilty of this heinous crime. So I've decided to recycle old class projects (and experiments gone bad) into what I call "Horrible Hot Pads."  They are homely enough to actually use.  Who cares if you spill tomato sauce on them?  They were horrible to start with. 

The stitching here is awful, but I liked the fabric so I sewed two quilt sandwiches together and added a binding.  I always wanted a hot pad big enough for my pizza pan - now I have one!  

I had this brainstorm back in 2009, so it won't count toward my 2010 recycling score card.  Still looking for other quilters to join me in finding ways to use recycled and scrap fabric.  See and for more information and ideas.

Happy Quilting!


Thread Heaven Conditioner

 The LQS recommended Thread Heaven Thread Conditioner and Protectant over old fashioned bee's wax.  I've used bee's wax for 20 years, and never had trouble with wax on my quilt.  But they didn't carry bee's wax, so I decided to give it a try.  Turns out I like it pretty well.  So far I've used it to hand stitch bindings.  Haven't done any hand quilting with it yet.  So the jury is still out....will keep you "posted."  LOL

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Help Needed!

I can't believe it.  I traced my quilting design with a pencil.  Pinned the tracing paper to my quilt and stitched.  Never even THOUGHT about the graphite - which came thru with every needle stroke.  Now my white thread is an ugly dark gray. 

Google tells me to treat with ammonia, then launder.  But I can't wash an unfinished quilt sandwich.  Will it wash out later?  Someone somewhere HAS to have made this error before.  Puh-leeease tell me it will be OK.

Meanwhile, how do I mark the remainder?  I avoided ballpoint, thinking it would do the same thing.  Maybe quilting pens work on paper?

Heart Scrolls

In the spirit of the Valentine Sewing Party, here's what I've been up to today.  I'm a confident seamstress, but Free Motion Quilting scares the heck out of me - feel like I'm driving 100 mph in a 15 mph zone. 

Learned FMQ last spring, but I'm not a professional quilter, so I don't do it every day.  It takes a whole lot of practice, practice, practice before I can get up the nerve to risk ruining my lovingly pieced quilt.  Does anyone else feel this way?   I'm also wondering how many quilters actually quilt their own stuff and how many send it out to be quilted by someone else?  I do all my own stuff, but feel like this project is taking forever!

I DID make TWO quilt sandwiches today though.  Putsy work, but oh so necessary.  At least when I get this one done, the other will be ready for quilting.  :)

Friday, January 22, 2010


Here's my pingpong-birthday-quilting table. I honestly don't know why I never thought of it before.   This arrangement is 2-3 inches higher than the previous set up!  Saving wear and tear on the old back.

Been reflecting on the various kinds of love.  Valentine's Day emphasizes romatic love, but that isn't always in the cards.  When romance was no where to be found, I've tried to focus on the OTHER kinds of for my children, love for my family and friends, love for my mother, aunt and grandmother.  Even love for those have gone before us to the next life.  The love of a pet can make difference in our day-to-day lives.  And this week I've been practicing tough love for an errant youth. 

So even if you are not part of  a "couple" at this Valentine's Day, I hope you can see the other meaningful forms of love at work in your life, and cherish and nurture those relationship.

Now, on another topic completely.  I must share DS2's Omnipotent Ping Pong Paddle of Doom.! 

Pretty silly, huh?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bunnies, Binding & Backing

Went in search of binding and backing.  This pink with tiny brown dots shouted, "Pick me!  Pick me!"  So I did!

Being somewhat lazy, I try to select a backing for whatever holiday/season comes next.  That way I don't have redecorate....I can just turn the table topper over, and swap out a knick-knack or two.  I hope you can see the fabric. These bunnies were too cute to pass up. I also like the old-timey look and feel.

Got the chocolate-y Valentine wreath for 40% off.  Lots of good sales goin' on at Joann's!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Hi Y'all - You probably don't need me to tell you its Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

MLK wanted each and every one of us to donate time to public service.  And I must say, quilting/crafting folk are a wonderful, charitable bunch.  We make quilts for fallen soldiers, sick children, victims of natural disaster or fire, and many other worthwhile causes.  People are now selling their work on Etsy to raise funds for Haiti.  I applaud all such efforts.

Much of 2010 lays ahead of us.  If you (like me) were unable to donate a full day to public service today, please think of donating bits of time over the new year to your school, church, food bank, or other local charity.  Or make a quilt for a cause you value - they can be raffled or auctioned off. 

I was amazed this fall when one of my creations (made entirely from scraps) sold for $40.00 at an auction (  Though I DO think adding the Beanie Baby increased the value! LOL 

My other donation ( went for $35.00.   And I benefitted because I got to try a new technique (scalloped edges).  Really, making those quilts was just plain fun! 

Any how, quilters CAN and DO make a difference in this world.  And that's what its all about, isn't it? 

Happy Quilting :)


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Quilting and Bruce Springsteen

Came home Friday and sewed to my hearts content.  Posted results for all the bloggy world to see.  Got up this morning, took ONE look at my work, and thought "That has GOT to go!"

So I de-constructed the runner this afternoon, then re-constructed it this evening.  Felt like someone turned the clock back 24 hours.  At least a project goes faster the second time you make it!

"We took what we had and we ripped it apart.  Now here I am down in Kingstown again."  I really think the Boss was singing about a quilt.  Perhaps I'll name this one "Hungry Heart." 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Big News!

OK, only a quilter would get excited about this, but...

1.  I now have a design wall! 
2.  Made a (fabric) decision and jumped in with both feet, and
3.  My points are perfect, but...

...I just might cover them up.   If I add the hearts, do I have to remove the fabric behind them - i.e. cut out and discard my perfect points?  What a horrible thought! LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh, Fudge

Started with this.  Cute, but needs some pizzazz.

Then went to the contrast, but what about my candy fabric?

Or this....

Love the candy fabric.  Not so sure about the border.  
One thing's for sure: I'm REALLY hungry for chocolate!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Presidential Puppy Toy

Fleece scraps make great dog toys - especially for teething pups.  
First Dog, Bo Obama agrees!

This brings my RRR 2010 score card up to 11.  Nine dust cloths, two dog toys made this year.  Always looking for ways to recycle, reduce and reuse fabric.  Please share yours!

Pinwheel Doll Quilt

Gosh, little girls grow up so fast!! 

Made this quilt a few years ago for my niece's American Girls doll.  Found the pink and white nightie at a craft show.  My niece is older now,  but she was sweet enough to indulge her Aunt Chris and let me snap a few pictures.   Having raised two boys, its always a treat when I get to do "girlie" stuff. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Please Vote

Doin' some Valentine variations.  Which do YOU like best?

Option A:

Option B:

Option C:

Option D:

Took my fabric to work to show a friend.  Expected to bring it home today.  Instead, I waged battle: Corolla vs. Snow.  Snow won, so I (eventually) worked from home.  Now I can't get my hands on that fabric 'til Monday.  Phooey!

In 48 hours I'll have a house full of people - I SHOULD be cleaning.  But quilting is so much more fun.  Anyway, please vote?  Thanks!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Valentine Quilts, Then and Now

Made this mini quilt for my Sweetie for V-Day 2008. 

Made this one for myself. 

Here's all I've come up with for 2010.  Sad, isn't it?
Want to make a table runner, but I'm fresh out of ideas.  Suggestions welcome!

Golfer Gifts

Created this Golf/50th Birthday gift pack around an origami bag made from golf-ball fabric.  All this from one little fat quarter! 

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recycling Challenge 2010

One reason I got back into quilting was to recycle fabric. 

Made a series of jeans quilts in '08 & '09.  Extra fleece becomes winter scarves.  Batting/fleece scraps become dust cloths (like a reusable Swiffer), and flannel sheets - a design wall.  I've seen quilts made from t-shirts, sweaters - even silk ties.  

The creative quilting/crafting community is an untapped resource.  Let's see how many ways we can find to recycle fabric in 2010.  I've decided to start a log of my recycling activities for the new year (nine dust cloths made so far).  Let's make it a friendly competition!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tranquility-Bento Box Table Topper

Came up short on backing fabric, so I made my first Bento Box.  Seemed to fit with the inverse design on the front.  The BB was fun, might have to try making a few more!  Put the design in the center since my Sweetie likes to keep his papers and magazines on one side of the coffee table and all his remotes on the other side. 

Was nearly done top-stitching when the bobbin jammed, and sucked my poor project down into the machine.   Thought my table topper was a goner.  Amazingly, no damage was done, and I still got 'er done in time for Sweetie's birthday.  Phew!

Could this be an omen?  Perhaps one shouldn't start a birthday present 5 days before the birthday?  LOL

Promise Not to Tell?

My Sweetie's Birthday is Wed. Jan.6th.  So I started this project 2 days ago.  Bought the fabric in 2008...But why RUSH things?? 

I've procrastinated long enough now, that he's forgotten about.  So it will be a nice surprise! (Not to worry - He also promised NOT to look at the blog for a few days.)

Cut the circles and squares on Wed.  Appliqued on Thursday.  Soaked freezer paper off this AM, line dried all day.  With a little luck I'll have a completed table runner to show you by tomorrow evening. 

Project is called Tranquility and it comes from the BHG Fast & Fabulous Quilting Ideas 2008.   The fabrics came from SewBatik.  See: