Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He's A Clever One, That Shop Owner

Here's an idea I found that I think is worth sharing.  While on our trip, we drove to Asheville, North Carolina and toured the Biltmore estate.


I saw this while wandering through one of the gift shops, and the shop owner graciously allowed me to take a picture of it.  Look at how cleverly this quilt is displayed!  A few limbs and a dowel rod and you can have an incredibly rustic, unique opportunity for hanging quilts.

Pretty clever!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tennessee Quilt Trail

I'm back!

It was hard to leave Tennessee.  Leaves were at a peak, and my visit with my girl was just what this heart sick mama needed.  I miss her!  I obviously didn't get any sewing done this past week, but I do have some fun quilt blocks to show you anyway.

We spent a morning traveling the quilt trail and photographing quilt blocks on old barns.  This was right up my alley.  We passed many of these along the highway and I wish we could have pulled over for each and every one.  They are incredibly charming.  The weather this day was very cool and hazy, so my pictures are a bit washed out, but we've already decided all future visits will require at least a few quilt barn photos.  They are too fun.

My girl and I.

The owners were all excited when we drove up to this one because they thought we were there to buy tickets to their haunted forest.  I think they were a bit disappointed when they found out I only wanted a picture of their barn and not of any of their goulish decor.  Ha!  I'm not a haunted forest kind of gal.

My Mom went on the trip with me, so it was a three generation adventure.  After our quilt block jaunt, we drove to Hannah's school so my Mom could see the campus for the first time.  A huge storm passed through just ahead of us, and as I was photographing the chapel, a rainbow appeared in the sky.  So stunning, and a striking memory of our sweet time together.

P.S......We went in a quilt store in a TINY town and Kaffe Fasset was there!  In person!  The quilt shop owner wasn't keen on the idea of me snapping his photo, so I respected that.  It was quite an unexpected surprise to see him though.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I'm off to Tennessee!  My Mom and I get to go spend fall break with my beautiful college freshman.  We plan to do lots of leaf peeping, and hopefully capturing photos of some quilt blocks on country barns.  Lucky for me, my girl loves to hit the quilt shops as much as Mom and I do, so we've got a rather spiffy plan for a super scrumptious fall break.  Be back soon!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fresh Flowers

I'm excited to finally be able to share this quilt with you.  I've been diligently pecking away over here, but it was a surprise so I was sworn to secrecy.

My daughter requested a quilt for her good friend Melanie's 18th birthday.  She specifically chose these exact fabrics to match Melanie's room months and months ago.  Too bad I didn't actually purchase the fabrics back then because it was a bit of a scramble to find what I needed over the internet.  (I know, Hannah.  You warned me.)  I'm really glad that Wendy and my Mom talked me into the yellow background.  It is Kona Buttercup and it works really well with the colors in this line.

The pattern is from the book Scrap Basket Sensations.

I tried something new.  I used a variegated thread, a first for me. I also tried to teach myself the art of free motion flowers in all the yellow portions.  The thing about trying something new is that invariably it isn't going to be perfect right away.  It's always difficult to have imperfections on a quilt, especially one that you give away.  But I think I would get bored too easily if I weren't always pushing myself to learn something new.  I will however note that mistakes show up a bit more readily in variegated thread!

Melanie is a bird lover, so when I spied this Robert Kaufman fat quarter at the LQS I snatched it right up.  The colors worked beautifully, and those who know Melanie will completely understand why birds cropped up on the back of her flower quilt.

I hand embroidered a label.  The verse for this project comes from Song of Solomon.


My favorite thing about this quilt isn't the quilt at all, but the little accessory that was born during a fit of insomnia last week which led me to putter quietly in my scrap pile.  My sewing machine is in my bedroom and out of consideration for Mr. Eight-to-Five I refrain from running it all night long, even though I tend to be a bit of a creative night owl.  However, by the gentle glow of a small lamp, one can quietly rotary cut and shuffle snippits of fabric around while remaining quiet as a church mouse. 

My first pillow.  Ever.
So THIS is what all the fuss is about.  They are really fun to make.
I embroidered the owl to mimic the fabric on the quilt back.  I offset that block in my layout to achieve a contemporary look.  I then machine quilted each section of the pillow using a different technique.  For instance, I pebble quilted along every single polka dot on the outer borders.  It's so much fun to try new things on such a small project.

I fiddled around a little and figured out how to make an envelope backing.

A matched set.  All future scraps are now destined to become matching pillows.  :-)

Bound in a colorful floral print.  The line (which has mostly disappeared from retailers by now) is Fresh Flowers for Moda by Deb Strain.

The birthday girl was here for dinner Friday night and I could finally let my secret out.

My daughter is now in college in Tennessee, and was really sad to miss Melanie's birthday for the first time since the girls were two years old.

So we solved that.  We skyped with Hannah while Melanie opened her present.
A very modern and high tech birthday.

With an old fashioned, quilted twist.

Happy 18th, Melanie.
And many more.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Probably one of the cutest Heather Bailey patterns of all time.  This precious project combines some of life's finest pleasures...felt flowers, Nicey Jane fabric, polka dots, the color turquoise, and TURTLES.

Am I the only one who think that turtles look like old men?  Real turtles, that is.  Not the ones sporting felt flowers.

Turtles should be well fed.  So much so that they either balance on their bulging bellies or tip over onto their noses, making them talented turtles who know tricks.

These particular turtles were so terrific that I couldn't stop at just one.

One for me, and one for a friend.

Because life is all about good friends.

Confession.....I had always longingly looked upon the fine, glass headed quilting pins at my local quilt shop.  The kind you need to take out a second mortgage to purchase.

Once I made Henrietta I had a reason to buy some.

Because they matched my turtle.

I sent my spare off to my friend, who loved her Henrietta as much as I love mine.

And that, my friends, is my turtle tale.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Morgan's Birthday Quilt

Today I'm going to show you a quilt that I finished last December for a beautiful young lady named Morgan.  Morgan (on the left) is one of my daughter Hannah's (on the right) closest friends.  This quilt was made in honor of Morgan's 18th birthday.

In hindsight, I wish I would have gotten better pictures of this before I gave it away.  (These were pre-quilt blog days!)  Unfortunately, I photographed this at a Christmas party in a darkly lit room.

I tried something new on the machine quilting that was lots of fun.  I made big, loopy flowers over the entire surface of the quilt.  Each flower had six petals and three outer loops.  You can see here that I did a running stitch with embroidery thread over the back of the quilt mimicking the machine quilting to serve as a label.  This was a quick and easy way to accomplish a label and it was lots of fun!

The verse for this quilt comes from the book of Psalms.
"Show me your ways, oh Lord,
teach me your paths."

This is a good life verse anyway, but this quilt came during a time of big decisions about college and internships, so I thought the verse was really appropriate.

I had orange scraps left over from this quilt that I wanted to use.  I saw the aqua fabric in the store one day and knew instantly that this color was meant to be married to my beloved orange.

I had no pattern or plan when I started cutting, and again, in hindsight, I wish I would have taken a few notes here!  I like how the scale turned out on this quilt and it would have been nice to have the dimensions for a future quilt.  I would have preferred it to be a bit bigger, but these were all the orange scraps I had, and I used every inch of my aqua.  So that determined the finished size.

I do believe this quilt serves to prove that orange and aqua can live a very happy life together!!  I would make a dozen more quilts out of this very combination.

The simple backing.

I just love this girl.  And I love the feeling I get working on a quilt that I know is going to someone so special.  This one definitely goes down as a good quilty memory.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Secret Garden arrived on my doorstep.

I could have kissed the mailman.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Birdie Stitches

We visited an apple orchard with our homeschool group today.  The perfect trip for fall!

Blushing Goldens were in season today.  A petite, sweet, juicy apple with a crispy snap.  Delicious!

I'm inspired by nature's autumn color palette.  I love warm and cozy colors.  They make me think of happy things....like apple orchards in October!

So I mentioned that on our campout this past weekend I did some hand sewing.  Yes, after working dutifully over the weekend I am all the way up to four blocks on my birdie stitches quilt along.

I'm no speed demon.

Considering ten blocks have been published so far, I'm very nearly half way there!

I'd hate to rush.  :-)

You will notice that I've changed a few of the patterns a little bit.  I like to tweak and play.

I'm grateful to Little Miss Shabby for providing this fun project, and now that I've got the ball rolling, I'm really quite hooked!