Saturday, November 27, 2010


I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We enjoyed a lovely day with my side of the family. It was a fairly small gathering, and everyone managed to get along. (That isn't always the case...we all tend to speak our mind a little too freely at times.) We had good food, good laughs and good company. I'm sad that my favorite holiday is over for another year, but I'm thankful that I had a chance to spend it with family.

While I was home, I found some vintage wool skirts in my mom's cedar chest that actually fit me. I'm excited to be able to add them to my wardrobe! We also messed around with a vintage Smith Corona typewriter, which was a hoot! Come to think of it, most of the things at my dad's house are vintage now. :)

This is my 700th (!!!) post. Thank you for visiting, reading and commenting on my little old blog. I am sooooooooooo thankful for each one...because without you, blogging would get very boring very quickly! :) So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

I'm also so very thankful that I have the chance and ability to create. Sounds a little corny, doesn't it? But I am thankful for it because creating adds so much to my life. It's so fulfilling!

I started a new quilt today. The idea has been rattling around in my head for months and months. It's getting kind of full up there....I think I need to get faster at translating some of those ideas into fabric. :) I have a full story behind this quilt, but that's for another day.
Hope you are having a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

connecting threads

I've been meaning to write a post about Connecting Threads (not as an advertisement, but as a quilter/consumer), and after all the questions I got about it on my last post about thread, I thought it was a good time.
Yes, the majority of my thread stash is from the Essential Threads collection.

What I love about this thread:
-It's cheap, er, economical. :) At just $2.49 per spool, it's a great bargain.
-It's 100% cotton.
-The color selection is great.
-Since it's so reasonably priced, it's easy to stock up on many different colors.
-A $50 order=free US shipping. (Always a plus!)
-The spools are 1200 yards! (I've already talked about how much I hate tiny spools, haven't I?)
-It works great for hand quilting, top stitching and piecing.
-I've used it for some applique, when the color was just right.
-It's great for some quilting applications.

What I could live without:
-The red thread bleeds. I'm pretty sure of it anyway.
-It looks a little thready when quilting. It's 50 weight (which is standard), but it seems fairly thick to me. Sometimes thready is ok, like on the blue quilt it was just fine, because that quilt was about the quilting. On other quilts, sometimes it's nice to have the thread blend in a bit more and let the fabric/design shine.
-A few people I've recommended it to have had problems using it in their machine, but I've had very few problems using it. I bet it all depends on your machine.
Connecting Threads has recently come out with a new thread line Essential PRO thread designed for long arm quilters (which I am not) but the cones work just fine on my Juki. I was excited to try this because it's a 70 weight thread, so it's thinner than the other thread. It is polyester, but that doesn't bother me a bit. These cones are over 3300 yards! Yay! No danger of running out of thread. I'm still in the testing stages, but so far, so good. I used it for free motion quilting and for walking foot quilting, and I really, really like it! It just so happens that my 3300 yards of thread matches my bolt of aqua fabric perfectly. I may need to get another bolt or two of that fabric. :)

CT also sell fabric, which piqued my curiosity. I ordered a bit of it and while I haven't sewn with it yet, I love what I see (and feel). I've heard lots of good things about it.

Oh, and they have 58 colors of solids! (For $3.96 a yard!) I ordered a charm pack to test them out. I love the colors in person. The charms don't have a pinked edge, so they fray a bit. Not a big deal, just makes it a bit harder to take a pretty photo. I'm looking forward to trying these out, too.

So, to sum up: I love Connecting Threads. I love supporting a decent company with a good product that helps keep quilting affordable!

I'd love to hear what you think about their thread/fabrics if you've used them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

thread storage

I was in the thrift store the other day buying mittens and shirts for my boy when I happened to come across this old (and dirty!) shelf. I bought it thinking it would be perfect for thread storage. My original intent was to repair the few holes it had and paint it white. You know, someday. Well, after cleaning it up, I decided to leave it as is. It matches my grandmother's old buffet finish perfectly. How handy that it fits my (extensive) thread collection perfectly, too! 
It was just the incentive that I needed to clean off my buffet and organize the top of it. Can I tell you just how happy this makes me? Very, VERY happy. I LOVE this!!!!
I have a deep love for color coding things. But I think that may go without saying. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

playing catch up

I've been trying to find the time (and the words) to do a retreat recap. It's so difficult, because one really can't describe the fun that happens in a few short days. The retreat was AMAZING! Tara was a FABULOUS hostess. It was apparent that she worked very hard on all the behind the scenes details. The Inn was lovely. Colorado was a bit snowy and beautiful. My students were WONDERFUL! We laughed and laughed and had an amazing time. I have a bunch of new friends. :) I think everyone learned a lot, too. (I know I did!) I can't wait to do it again next year.

cutest name tags ever! made by Tara.

My little family is so great. My husband had the house spic and span when I got home. He's so good to me!! My oldest son crawled into bed with me on Monday morning and he told me how much he missed me over the weekend. Then he told me that he wore my coat for awhile. I asked him if that helped, and he said, "A little bit." Oh, my. Such sweetness. My heart melted completely. I have a wonderful family, I am so very blessed.

new fabric! bought at Mama Said Sew
On the flight home, I ended up sitting by a dear sweet woman (Hi Christie!) that loves to quilt, who also has a JUKI. (!!!!!) I don't know about you, but things like that NEVER happen to me! It was so fun to get to know her and share stories. What an incredible way to wrap up an already wonderful trip.

cutest pot holder ever! a gift from Penny.

This week at home has been completely crazy. So many things going on, my head is spinning. Today I got up at 6 am just so I could blog. (Sick, I tell you! Hee hee.) I have jury duty today and tomorrow, which I am looking forward to, but it's putting a serious cramp in my quilting time! After this busy, busy week I have a newfound respect for all the working moms out there. I could never do it. I have too much new fabric to sew up! :)

Innocent Crush fat eighths from Tara

Thursday, November 11, 2010


 I've got PIPS!!!! Many many MANY thanks to Thimbleanna for hooking me up with these fat quarters. How I will EVER cut into these little lovelies??? I do not have a clue. Anna, you are a darling! I'm seriously excited for this fabric.
I'm also seriously excited because I've packed up my Juki (in my super cute new suitcase!) and I'm headed to COLORADO!!! I'm teaching (machine quilting) at a retreat this weekend. My stomach has been flip flopping all day. I'm very excited. And a little bit nervous, too.

See you in a few days!

Edited to Add: My suitcase came from Target. It can be found here.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Way back in early 2008, I started making a series of monochromatic scrap quilts. Anyone remember that? I started with yellow. Then I made a green one, blue one, and pink one. Yes, I really am crazy. (As if there was any doubt!) Monochromatic quilts are quite fun to make. Even though this most recent one has taken me a long time to complete, I'm glad I have this on-going project.

Sometime last week I finally finished a red one.

It makes me happy. I added some uneven borders-the top and left sides are smaller than the bottom and right sides-just for something a bit different. I generally don't do borders, but this one needed it. They contain all the chaos. :)
I quilted loops all over. I used 3 spools of red thread that I had on two colors exactly the same, but close enough. I'm beginning to detest small spools of thread!
I had to make the binding slightly scrappy, too. I love this detail.
And a very predictable pieced backing. I used left over chunks from my candy cane quilt for the patchwork. Pretty handy, since they were pre-cut and they were just the right size.

The quilt measures 59" x 69".

Red was my grandma's favorite color. It's also my sister's favorite. Some days it's mine, too. Today it definitely is. :)

Now, I wonder what color I should move on to next...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

a process post

I took this quilt to my craft group with the intentions of starting to rip out the stitching. Unquilting this was going to be my winter project. I'm not feeling the quilting. I like the approach, the execution isn't all that fabulous. There is a little bubble in the back and the quilting on some of the circles is wobbly. The quilted circle shown is one of the better ones. Although, if I would rip out the stitching and try to quilt them over, I'm not sure that my results will be that much better. Quilting circles freehand is HARD!

The ladies in my group this morning convinced me that I should leave the quilting as is and finish it up. The quilt police aren't going to get me.

But this begs the question, where is that line between perfectionism (mine is in fine form these days) and lazy/shoddy work? I've heard the phrase "if you can't see the mistake 10 feet away from a galloping horse, leave it." That phrase irritates me, to tell you the truth. I want my quilts to be well made, and while they won't be perfect, I do want to do my best. On the flip side, I also want to finish my quilts! In order to do that, I need to let some of those things go. But finding that happy medium, now that's a trick.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

off kilter

This quilt is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

I made this quilt earlier this year (during my blog hiatus) for my nephew. He's 16 now and he's a special kid. I love him to pieces. Our bond started when he was 6 and I was a new mother of a 2 month old colicky baby. It was deer hunting season, and we were up visiting my in laws. My husband was out hunting. I was trying to keep it together and not start screaming and crying myself. My nephew who could walk and talk and tell funny bits of stories was a breath of fresh air! He and I went out to build a snowman, and I found out he had NEVER built a snowman before. I couldn't believe it. It was great bonding time and I guess that landed me on his good list. For some reason or other, I've been there ever since.

Last year my husband and I got the chance to take him out to practice driving. It was neat to share in that huge life milestone with him. We don't live very close to each other, and we don't see each other that often, so it's a treat when we do.

The quilt was made using Cheryl's gratitude quilt along. Susan named the quilt. (I LOVE the name!) It was a 100% stash quilt. This is one quilt that I am actually anxious to give away, because I think he's gonna love it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

blue giveaway winner

I just finished reading each and every one of the comments. (yes, even yours, Jessica Christensen!) :) Thanks for sharing your silly games with me. I think these were the best comments EVER! I laughed out loud several times. It also gave me a few more ideas to mess with my kids. Those ideas are always welcome! ;)

Ok, so the winner of the blue quilt kit is Sandi from Sonora. Thanks to each and everyone that left me a comment. I'm glad you all played along. :)

(Apparently I'm very smiley today.)

Hope you are too!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

flock block

Have you seen the website Quiltivate? It's a nifty website that makes it easy to design your own quilts. I've been working behind the scenes with Kacie (who has been an absolute gem to work with) to write tutorials for some of the blocks on their site. The tutorials are up and running as of today. You should go and play around on the site. Just don't blame me if you get sucked in. It could easily happen. :)

As I was writing the flock block tutorial (way back when), I fell in love with it so much that I had to make an entire quilt top. It's been promised to my son, who is anxiously awaiting it's completion. I'm trying to work up the guts to do some Diane Gaudynski treatment to it. I still get nervous when I start quilting a new quilt, especially if I'm branching out with a new-to-me technique. I'm trying to tell myself that it's nothing a seam ripper won't handle if things go bad. I'll keep you posted.

Also, 4 years ago today, I started this blog. It's been a crazy journey. I was reading back to some of my earlier posts last night. It was kinda weird to look back and see what I was doing then. It seemed like a (much) simpler time. Anyway, reading old posts always gets me all sentimental. Thanks to each of you for stopping by, reading and commenting. I appreciate it soooooooooo much!

I plan to pick a giveaway winner tomorrow.

Monday, November 01, 2010

a blue giveaway

Happy November! Every month my family and I play this silly little game. We all try to be the first one to wish someone else a happy month. This morning I was greeted by my 7 year old (before I even got out of bed) with a "Happy November!" Not a bad way to start off the day.

November is my favorite month. I love fall. I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It's cooler so there are plenty of chances to wrap up in a quilt. It's a great time to make more quilts. (Well, it's always a good time to make more quilts, if you ask me.) I think November is good all around!

In honor of the first day of my favorite month, I'm going to give away a quilt kit to one reader. The quilt kit consists of 42 blue, black and grey kona cottons, so you can make your very own blue quilt. could use the pre-cut rectangles for various other projects if you so desire. Each rectangle is a generous 5.5" x 19.5" so the possibilities are endless! If you would like to win, please leave me a comment letting me know of any silly games you and your family play. If you don't have one, your favorite color would be a good substitute. Happy Monday to you!