"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Next Projects Up

Several projects coming up that I'll be working on at the same time as the commissioned teddy bear quilt.   Old and one long planned.........

The old one is a pineapple block table topper.   The top was put together 5 or more yrs ago, but then never finished.  Blocks originated from a friend in an online group that I'm in,  The same fabric that is in the center of the pineapple blocks is what is being used for the back.   It will be bound in more of the dark brown.

Also old, but need to be done is me getting back to working on the scrub tops that are cut out here ready to be sewn up.  That tote needs to be brought downstairs so that I'll work on them in between other things.

The second project, and the new one, is a planned butterfly hanky quilt.   I'll be using hankies from my paternal Grandmother.   The butterflies will look like the ones you can see here - butterfly quilt.  The green fabric below is what I'm planning to use for the background of the quilt.   This will be one that I send out to have quilted.


1. I have an office with a window in our new place.

2. All of the UFO quilt tops that I've found all fit into one tote.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekend Finishes

I'm getting ready to send a box of completed tops for Sunshine Quilts off in the mail this to someone who will quilt them for me.   To do this I've been finishing off tops that were in progress and pulling other tops that were finished and had been stashed in various totes.

First two tops that I finished were the ones with the heart lotto blocks.   These just needed borders.  Found fabric that I liked for the borders in my cabinet downstairs.

The last quilt finished this weekend was one that started with a pillow panel I received from the gal who has been quilting most of my quilt tops for Sunshine the last few years.  I received it a couple of yrs ago and hadn't been able to think of what I wanted to do with it.   This weekend I finally decided to make a couple of extra blocks with an applique Sunbonnet Sue on them to echo the panels.  Then added a 4" cut border and sashing around the blocks and it's done.   It will be going off with this batch of Sunshine quilts.

1. Finally managed to get x-rays of my knees done this afternoon.  Now to wait for the results from the doc.

2. Anti-inflammatories will eventually kick in.

A New Year of Sorting and Cleaning

Those that know me, know that I keep a spreadsheet of what I'm working on in my sewing and quilting.   I track stages of where things are, what's completed, what has been donated, UFO's, etc....  Haven't always been so organized tho about how I stored things.

One of the things I did this weekend was to get my completed tops all together in one tote (they were in two big ones).  And to make sure that my spreadsheet was up-to-date, I went through the listing of completed tops and checked off what was in the totes.  6 or so tops are headed off to Sunshine, and I have 4 tops ready to go to American Heroes.  Aiming to get all of those out in the mail this week.

Net result - 12 completed tops that weren't on the list, oops....and 10 or so tops that are on the list that I can't find.....argh.   I'm hoping some of those I had already donated to Sunshine Quilts where they were supposed to have gone in the past couple of  yrs.   If not, I'm wondering what I did with them and when they'll show up....lol.   And yes, not knowing what happened to them is driving me nuts.

Meanwhile, I was left with about 30 or so quilt tops that are finished and just need to be quilted.  Pulled the smallest one out, a table runner, to finish up next because I can manage to pin that one on my cutting station.  Nope, this wasn't on the list of what I wanted to accomplish this year, but it will be nice to have another UFO completed.  =)

Now the question is, should I leave the ones that I couldn't find on my spreadsheet for this year (some were there last year as missing) or just delete them off and re-add them later if they resurface.

All of this reinforces my need to go through the boxes and totes this coming year so that I can downsize some of it and get a handle on the rest of it.  I am slowly working through some of my tote fabrics and making up 1-2 a week.   I've got a 1 or 2 totes plus a box full of them that I still like and I really want to work through the box and empty it.  They only take an hr or two to make, so slow and steady will get me there.

Next up, going through a mangled box from the storage room outside and bring the tote full of cut scrub tops downstairs so that I will actually work on them!


1. Warm weather today - in the mid-70's!

2. Move is accomplished at work and I have an office with a window.   =)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Teddy Bear Commissioned Quilt and 2017 BOM

The next commissioned quilt that I have to make is a queen-sized quilt featuring 12 appliqued teddy bear blocks surrounded by pieced blocks.   The pieced blocks will have a teddy bear print in the middle of them.

I will be designing 12 different applique blocks for this quilt.   And will be using them as my BOM for this year.  One block a month will be posted, and then when the next block is posted, the last month's block will be posted for sale on either Craftsy or Payhip.   Haven't decided for sure which one (or both) I'll use.

The first block is in process and show in it's fused state to the right.  I'll be stitching it tonite and will get the pattern written up this weekend.   A friend will be proof-reading it for me before I post it online.

1. For the office chair and floor protector that I've been blessed with from work as we get ready to move offices this weekend.

2. For a fun time last night at dinner with a quilting friend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Quilter's Garden Top Completed

I've finished putting the top together from my Quilter's Garden blocks.

At this point it is 44" long by 40" wide.   I think it is finished, but will admit that I'm still considering two things with this top - whether to add some sort of applique in the areas where there are wider sections of the fabric that I used for the setting/sashing in the quilt.   Maybe something like thread spools, flowers or words of some sort.

And I'm also considering a pieced border, either a piano-key one or a checkerboard one.  Both would use more of the fabrics I had pulled for the blocks.

There are a few little details that I also need to get sewn on - beads for the tops of the pins in the pincushions and a button on the rotary cutter.  But not too much left to do.

1. Got a great price for airfare to ATL for QuiltCon next month.

2. Weather here is great this week.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Next UFO in Progress

These blocks came from a Row-by-Row mystery type swap group several years ago
.  I didn't do the full number of the blocks needed for a row, but just one or two in order to have a wallhanging for my sewing room.

I'm not doing anything fancy in putting them together, but it will be done and that's a good thing.   =)

I need to make a couple of small blocks for filling in up at top, and want to do some applique in the larger area of the fabric I'm using as sashing.  Maybe something like a vine w/flowers or thread spools.....  There will be a last round of the sashing fabric around the outside and then something else for a border, but I haven't got a clue what I'll use for that yet.

1. This is going together easily

2. Long chats with friends on the phone.

Challenge is Finished!

Finished my challenge quilt today and will be delivering it to the challenge coordinator Thursday evening when we meet for dinner.

A few stat's for the quilt:

18" wide by 36" long.
Cotton fabrics used for the quilt
8 different tulles used for the water in the river
Canoe is 5.25" long by 2" wide by 1" high
Cotton batting used in the quilt

Things I've learned during the process of making the quilt:

1. Improv designing & quilting does not come naturally for this analytical and engineering minded quilter and is down right hard.........lol.

2. Being border-line type A in somethings does not make the quilting process any easy for improv quilting!

3. It's better to have more colors needed for doing things like the water than to have to make a second trip for fabric.

1. Beautiful, if windy, weather today

2. Done 4 days early on my quilt means I don't have to worry about delivering it on Thursday.

January Swap Blocks - Esther don't look if you want a surprise!

Finished off my January swap blocks.   These will be mailed off this week to their new home with Esther.

1. Seeing friends at church this morning

2. My stash because it lets me do a lot of sewing whenever I want to.  =)

January UFO Weekend

This weekend was the UFO weekend for one of the online groups that I'm a part of.  Depending on the weekend we've got 3 or 4 days to put in at least 8 hrs on a UFO and hopefully make progress on it.  The UFO can be any kind of UFO as long as it has some sort of stitching in it.

This month I chose to work on putting together some of the many RWB blocks that I've collected over the last few years.   Some of them were from an online swap I've been in this past year and others were sample blocks that I made up as I worked on my pattern designs.   The final blocks that went into it were some flag blocks that I made to use up some extra pp'd pattern sections from a long-ago finished quilt.

The top finishes out at 60" by 80" or so and will be going to American Heroes this year.  For me this is complete because they will have someone else quilt it.

Next up was putting a wee bit of trim onto a couple of plain t-shirts.   The shirts had sat around for about 6 months waiting for me to get to them.  All that for about 15 minutes of hunting thru the trim stash for something that would work and 5 minutes worth of work to sew it on.

The last thing I've completed this weekend is a tote bag from Home Dec fabric I've had in my stash for several yrs.   there is a pocket inside made from the same checked fabric that the handles are made from.  This will go in my stash of items for gifts or to be sold at some point.

I did complete the final swap block for this month, but will show that in a different post.


1. The sun is shining and it is supposed to be lovely week weather wise.

2. Only 4 wks till Quilt Con 2017!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chasing squirrels...........

With a deadline to getting my challenge quilt done you'd think that I would be focused on working on it and not allowing anything else to distract me.    Ummmmm, nope.....I've been like the dog who is chewing on a favorite toy and then gets distracted by squirrels and races off after them.    I am totally easy to distract.

In my case, it was fabrics that didn't fit into boxes or the big totes as I was working to go through my non-quilting fabric stash.  And if I'm honest, the sorting was also a "squirrel"....sigh.   First two "squirrels" I worked on (and completed!!!) were three tote bags - two of the green tie-dye print and the zebra print one.   These will go into my gift totes for future homes.   Although I've thought about making enough up to be in a craft fair at the end of the year.  

Green print fabric is a heavier weight cotton.

Zebra print with pink done with 54" wide upholstery fabric.

And yes, I did get work done on my challenge quilt which is good because I'm going to deliver it in person to the gal who coordinates delivery to the show personnel.  Canoe is pinned approximately where it is going to go.   I need to find a heavy weight needle in order to hand stitch it on.  Will do that after I get all the water on.   I'll be starting at the bottom with the "calm" water and working upwards as I do that.   The plan for tonight includes making good progress on that.


1. Good weather

2. Safety in driving home even with horrible traffic this evening

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Treasures among the stash

As I've been cleaning things up in my fabric room and sewing room, along with sorting through fabrics over the last couple of weeks, I've found some fabrics that have made me scratch my head and wonder why I bought them.  And then there are the UFO blocks which never seem to get used up.

Two of those came together this week as I took a quick break from working on the challenge quilt.   The fabric used in this hanging towel was one I found in my non-quilting stash as I sorted thru it.   It is a cotton, waffle-weave fabric and a lovely lt green color.  It was a remnant so I'm sure that is why I bought it.  Not sure what I'd planned for it.

However, it has worked perfectly for this hanging towel.  I used 1/4th of the piece so I have enough fabric left for 3 more of the towels.   Just need to make tops for them after I find more fabric that will go with the green.

The patchwork at the top was in my orphan block tote.   A little bit of fusible fleece to give some padding to it and quick work to stitch it all together.  This will go into my gift tote for when I need a quick something for a gift.  =)

1.  Rain instead of snow!

2. The receipt of the new-to-me desk and carpet protector from work as we get ready to move offices.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Making a mess

Sewing got done this week, but don't have pics of all of it.  I know have two F2F blocks done, and pics taken.  Will post them later when all three are done.

I've finished all of the quilting in the background of the challenge quilt and then spent the weekend figuring out how to make a canoe.  However, since my thread matched the background, pics won't show it.

I ended up using a double layer of non-fusible peltex (like used in quilted postcards) that I stitched together to form the base.  Then fused on a wood grain print over that.  Satin-stitched the raw edges of all pieces.  The sides are sewn together with a straight stitch, and then I glued the two sections (bottom/side) together this morning.   I'll add some additional glue inside when I get home to strengthen the hold this afternoon.   Then it'll be ready to attach to the quilt somehow.

I'm going to trim the quilt to size and put the binding and hanging sleeve on tonite.  Then tomorrow I can start adding the "water".

Also this past weekend I did a lot of moving and sorting in my sewing room.  I've gone through all but one box of my non-quilting fabric stash.  That means I've gone thru 10 of the largest totes in my sewing room and 13 xerox boxes of fabrics...........net result is I have a much better idea of what I've got and what I'll actually use.   I've done a lot of sorting out of stuff that I know I'll never use at this point.  Kept things like the pants material that I have, the knits for tops, materials for gifts (need to get sewing to get things made up!), and fabrics for totes.

At this point I'm down by 3 of the large totes and 6 xerox boxes.....woohoo!!!!!!!!!    And two of the items/groups are already listed on ebay for sale.   Am hoping that they sell.  Everything else that is going out will either be listed for sale or donated somewhere.   Still lots to be done in the fabric room, but this is progress....altho it doesn't look like it...lol.  

I do still need to sort through the quilting fabs so that I can get like with like (sorted by color, types, etc.).  But that will be at a later date.

1. a desk for quilting on and a carpet protector for my chair to roll on for free as we get the office ready to move.

2. No tornado touchdown by me during the storm Sunday night.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New-to-me desk

Yippee - my new desk from work that I am going to use for quilting on is now home.

It's no deeper than what I've got right now, but I'll have about 3 times the amount of space to the left of my machine for the quilt thanks to the style of desk and how the legs are made.

Now I just need to get the bars for the quilt frame out of the room and into the storage room so that I have room my chair when I need to use the desk.

1. Being given the desk at work due to moving to new offices this month

2. A great company to work for.

My Fabric Room.......

.......Well in the fabric room at any rate.   I was feeling good enough over the weekend that I was able to finish getting totes and boxes moved for the present time so that I can actually get to them and find fabric.   Still more work to be done - downsizing my clothing stash, replacing boxes that some of the cottons are in and more organization.  But at least now I might have a chance of finding things instead of having to buy more fabric.

First pic is of the east wall - xerox boxes have cottons, small totes are a variety of supplies and projects.

Second pic is of the east wall.  Lots of stuff over on this side of the room.  Lots to go through.   The big totes you see in both pics contain either cottons or clothing fabric depending on which one.  The very two totes at the bottom right of the second pic (you can just see one of them) are my scraps.

1. Finding a good hematologist here in Dallas

2. Having a stash that enables me to sew even when I can't afford to buy what I need at the moment

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ready for Borders.....

The blocks I started working with earlier this week are now in quilt tops that are ready for borders.

The heart blocks are string pieced, and were from a lotto block swap back in 2006.  The top one will get two borders - a narrow black Kona and then a black w/bright print of some sort.

The bottom one is only 38" by 40" so it needs borders top and bottom before adding one all the way around to bring it up to size.  Although I'm thinking that I may go in and make one more block to make the bottom point on the heart.   Haven't fully decided tho because I don't know if I really want to do that much frog-stitching.

Both of the finished quilt tops will be going to Sunshine quilts.

1. Weather has warmed back up.  =)

2. Praying Friends.

Monday, January 9, 2017

3:30 AM and what to do.....

After waking up for the third time this morning at 3:30 AM (and yes, wide awake) after a really strange dream, I decided to get up and stay up.   But what does a quilter do when they can't sleep....well if you are me you don't try to cut anything 'cause fingers tend to get in the way of moving rotary cutters at that time of the morning (guess how I know that!).   So I dug out a set of swap blocks from back in February of 2011 to start sewing together.

The blocks are 5" by 8" finished size, and I have 88 of them to play with.   I plan to put 36 of them into this quilt and then do a second quilt with the remaining ones.   After borders are added both quilts will be sent to Sunshine Quilts.

Border plans include adding an inner border of black Kona and then one of my bright, multi-color prints for a final border.

1. Warmer weather is coming back in a day or two!

2. Only 6 weeks till Quilt-Con and my weekend there with my best quilting buddy.  =)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dreaming Big, Part 2

More progress has been made on the challenge quilt.

3-dimensional boulders have been made and stitched down to the riverbed. Quilting has been started in the green background.  I'm using the fabric as a guide and doing a free-form fern all across the fabric.  Lots more to go on the quilting though, altho I don't plan on quilting every inch of it.

I've also been writing lots of words and ideas on the riverbed.   These represent what there isn't time or money for when buried under debt.   Things that often get sacrificed by individuals and families as they try to survive the rapids and shoals of overwhelming debt and all that it brings.   Things like family, friends, joy, happiness, health, education, reliable transportation, housing, hobbies, travel, hope, and so on.

Have a couple of ideas percolating in my head for a canoe.  Time will tell if I'm able to make it all come to life.


1. The heater works!

2. Thankful to be out of the worst of the "white water" in paying off my debts.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dreaming Big, part 1

Quilt is now basted together (main fabric for the front and the backing) and I've not started laying out the fabric for the river bed.

The fabric that I'm using for it is one that is graduated in color.  Light at the selvedges to dark at the center.  All of which means I have to use multiple pieces to get the coloring that I want through out my "river bed".    I've done a rough layout of the pieces to get a feel for the number of pieces that I need.   May yet rearrange them.

Next step is to add strips of fusible webbing to the edges of the strips and then trim the pieces into a more random but continuous river.  Normally I would put fusible web under the entire sections but since i'll be hand stitching the "water" down I don't want to do that this time.    Should be "fun" working with it.....lol.


1. The heater works well in my car.

2. Repairman is finally coming to the house this afternoon to make the needed repairs.

Monday, January 2, 2017


For the past 15+ years I've taken part in an annual challenge to make an art quilt.   There is always a theme, and the quilts are then shown in a special exhibition at one or more quilt shows.   Each year's challenge always has a theme to it.   And the idea is that each person will try to stretch themselves in some way as they make their quilt.  

This year's theme is "Dream Big".   And for me that big dream is paying off all of my debts so that I can live debt-free with the possible exception of a house at some point in the future.   I've made progress over the last couple of years, but there are several more years to go before I'll be there......hence my big dream.  One lesson that is all too well learned is that when deeply in debt and struggling to make ends meet, so many of the pleasures in life such as family, friends, hobbies, travel, church, giving to others and so many more cannot be enjoyed because ones focus is utterly consumed with survival.

Having been down this road before and now doing it again, paying off debts, especially where I started from just a couple of years ago the process has ups and downs.   And in many ways is like a rafting trip down a turbulent river towards the calm at the end of the trip.    And thus my choice of how to depict my dream.

I plan to improv-applique/piece a river depicting the stages that one would go through on a white-water rafting trip with 4 basic stages.   Each of the succeeding stages will have water that is less and less turbulent, ending with calm water that you can see the river bed below and all that the river contains.   I plan to write all the things that I haven't been able to enjoy along the river bed, but just as in real life they will only really become apparent in the calm water at the end of the trip.

The fabrics I'll be working with include -

These two batiks - the top green one is the front, and the one at the bottom is the backing fabric.  They are basted together at this point, and all piecing will take place at the same time that I work on quilting the piece.

This is the fabric I'll be using for the riverbed.   It is one that shades from light to dark and back again.  

This final bunch is what I'll be using for the water in the river.  There are tulles, and other similar fabrics that I'll be working with to show the turbulence in the river as it rushes by boulders and turns in the and head to the calm at the end of the rapids.

Still to be decided - how to make a canoe or raft of some sort to show where I'm in this journey.

1. For the progress I've made in paying off debt to this point.

2. For those that have supported me along this path.

2017 Goals and Word for the Year

Over the years I've found that I work best when I keep a list of things that I need to get done.   Without the list I'll for get something for sure.  Over the years I've had many lists on paper, and I still use a composition book to keep a number of on-going lists of things that need to be done.

To help stay on track this year, I've also updated the Goals tab on my blog with what needs to be done this year.   Some are wants, some must-dos, but all of it is what I'm working towards for this year.

How do you stay on track with what you want/need to get accomplished?

And along these lines, I think my word for this year is Growth.  I want to grow my commissioned  business to where it is a steady business year round.   I want to grow my designing to where I'm not only designing but actually putting them up for sale as finished patterns.  And I want to continue to grow my skills as a quilter.   It till be interesting to see how I accomplish that.

What are you wanting to accomplish this year?

1. A good time with my parents over Christmas.

2. A good job to go back to this year.