More Just Do It!

I visited my sister and she showed my her attempt of machine quilting.  She was not happy with the outcome.  I suggested she do it with the walking foot as she was doing decorative stitching and the stitches were not even.  So she was going to take out all the stitches.

Just Do It!

Just Do It!

On the way home I thought of something I had started quilting and did not like the workmanship.  Instead of taking out stitches, I put the project away.  That night I got it and a seam ripper out .  A JUST DO IT moment!  As you look at the above picture, are you wondering why I was quilting when the entire border had not been added?  I wondered all evening!

finishing the bodrder

finishing the border

The next day I got out my very small collection of Oriental fabrics.  I found the green and sewed it on.  Then I pressed it!  Ouch!  Maybe there was a logical reason that all the border had not been added!   Why don’t I journal or at least leave notes with projects?  I would rather be sewing.  Okay was there a project box?  After a hunt, yes and there was a yard of the proper green.  Apparently I had run out of green and had to go buy more.  I now have plenty to finish the border and do the binding.  I could even make napkins to go with the table topper.

The binding is now being attached as the quilting is finished.  I will later let you admire my finished  “less than desired and dreamed of” project.

Sharon's potholders

Sharon’s potholders

Someone else was doing some JUST DO IT projects.  My small group was here and Sharon did something with our challenge fabric from last year.  She made very usable and pretty potholders.

ready to quilt

ready to quilt

Another JUST DO IT project for Sharon was doing something with a panel she had purchased sometime back.

donna's spring table topper

donna’s spring table topper

Donna had been to a retreat and took a JUST DO IT project along.  Binding a bed quilt.  I do not have a photo of it, but she also purchased a kit there and did a spring project.  It might have been a reward for doing binding.

quilt by the block

quilt by the block

Our group often laments about the quilting part of a project.  Do you want to pay someone to do it?  Do you want to learn to do it on your domestic machine?   Do you want to rent time on a long arm machine?  Do you just want to put it away and do something else?  Carol brought a do it yourself quilting project.  You quilt the blocks individually and use a skinny sashing to put it together.  It gives us all something new to think about.  And isn’t that what small groups are all about?


I found myself actually giddy the other day.  Was it because spring was actually coming to Iowa?  Maybe, but there had to be more.  I finally thought of the cause:  I was starting a new quilt and doing what I love, crunching the numbers to make the lap sized pattern work on a twin bed for a high school graduate.  My friends know that I am not a modern quilter, but sometimes I need to step out of the Civil War fabrics box, especially when it is to be a gift.  I loved the big pieces and few joints and no points to protect.  It still wasn’t a Quilt in a Day, but it was close!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

This last picture is what I was hoping that Sharon would forget to pack up.  All my spring and Easter stuff is pastel.  There are no pastels in my home, except one guest room.

I did do my self determined March blocks and will show them in another post.  Nothing too glamorous, but I am staying on schedule.



I think this was a sports product promotion years back.  JUST DO IT.  There are times we need to think that way in the sewing room.  Lately, I had two quilts back from the long-arm gal.  I was so excited about her work, but I could not get myself started on doing the binding.  First you have to get the table space and cutting matts all organized to clean up the edges.  Then you have to arrange the space to put the big quilt so as to sew on the binding.  Then there is the forever hand stitching.  All three steps are dull to me.

Binding all ready to go.

Binding all ready to go.

Issue number four is finding the fabric back to do the binding.  Recently I was going to grab a notebook in the sewing room to take to a class I was taking.  The above picture is what I found all wrapped around a notebook!  I could not remember the project the Christmas binding was intended to go on.  I do have a couple Christmas things ready for the quilting, but this fabric would not work to bind either one.  I faintly remember finishing one project.  It is now all packed away, but I remember being upset with myself as I had to dig out fabric that would work for the binding!

assortment of "finish it" fabric

assortment of “finish it” fabric

There are a stack of boxes in the sewing room closet.  There are a few inches above them before a shelf appears.  I usually try to put “finish it” fabric there.   When I finally decided to JUST DO IT for the two quilts, I found these three on the spot.  Yea!  One of them was for the comforts of home quilt.  But there was nothing for the scrap quilt.  I had to dig around and piece some browns together to “make do”.

Lazy way to get to the machine!

Lazy way to get to the machine!

While I was sewing the binding on the scrap quilt, my mind was wondering if this quilt was worth the hand stitching.  One of my machines has a nice stitch that looks fine for binding a quilt that is not going into a show or competition.  It is like the blanket stitch, but tosses a stitch each direction rather than just one.  It is a good way to know you are catching everything.  Before I start, I do tack the four corners in place so they will stay neat and 90′.  In the photo above you will notice that I found it easier to pull the machine table out away from the counter rather than clean the counter!

Binding ready to go

Binding ready to go

All this happened a few weeks ago.  Yesterday I had the above sighting.  My eye caught on something sitting on top of the stack of feed sack fabrics that just sit there to look cute.  Could it be the binding for the scrap quilt?  Yes, indeed it is!

remember lie

Gal Time

My friends and I had our monthly gathering.



At our last gathering I invited them to join me in making a Christmas quilt.  Many of them did and brought their first four blocks along.



Don’t we all have a box of Christmas fabric?



And each box represents our own tastes.



Doing a small part each month should get the job done!



Joyce loves pink.  It is so fun to see it Christmas Style.

Donna's embroidery work

Donna’s embroidery work

Donna has spent some travel time doing embroidery.  Now we are all thinking of the best way to put the blocks together.

Donna's monthly wall hanging

Donna’s monthly wall hanging

Donna also accepted an offer  on the internet for a project each month.  I love windy March.  You too can order these monthly patterns at:

Sandi's twin quilt

Sandi’s twin quilt

Sandi is making a quilt for a trundle bed.  We were giving her advise for the border.

My show-n-tell would be a lot of puttering.  Winter brings a lot of stay at home time, but it also brings a lot no motivation.  I love to have my friends come as we all inspire one another to get going again.

Another way to get going is follow the advise from 1949:

singer sewing directions

The snow has melted in central Iowa and it is amazing what it can do to ones attitude.  Spring will come again!

February Blocks Done!

Month two of goal setting blocks is done!  And I am very happy with the Christmas blocks.

Christmas project #1

Christmas project #1

The star blocks really put spunk in this project as the January blocks were rather ordinary.

Christmas Project #2

Christmas Project #2

For the other Christmas blocks, January was the more striking block, and I maybe am not has happy with my February background choice, but there are many more blocks in this quilt that can have perfect fabric choices.


I have perfected my poka-a-dot block pattern by ellinimating the appliqué part.  If you look close you can see a seam in the white ground with blue and black dot fabric.  It is amazing how we have learned so many techniques and fun when we implement them into another project.  I am thinking that the pale pink frame is too pale.  Is it pale enough to do the curved seam again?

As for the house project of the month…..


My self imposed rule was that I just had to start it.  I started removing the stuffing from the old chair cushion.  I have a fabric plan for the new chair cushion.  Is that enough of a start?  Instead I really wanted to play with a pattern I purchased a couple years ago.   It is a Sue Daley design and Sue makes her home in Australia.  She was at market when I had the opportunity to meet her.


She had so many gorgeous designs, I settled for what I thought might be the easiest.  I have been wanting to get it ready for the appliqué and I am getting close to that part.

My start on aSue Daley pattern

My start on aSue Daley pattern

And I also wanted to see if I would like it with a panel I have been saving for something special.  I had some of the clamshells in the corners of the center as the pattern has, but was not happy with the look as they seemed to distract the eye from the panel.  I am still not positive I am liking the way is it going.  But I am loving the diamonds and was so surprised how easy they were. I am also pleased with the cornerstone I created by paper piecing.  I just did not have the perfect fabric to do the corners like the picture.  I will now move on to other things and just study this project for a while.

edge to edge

My move on should be to do binding and winter is a great time to have a quilt on your lap all evening.  The machine part is just such a pain to do first.  On the quilt above that is needing the binding, I tried to zoom in  so that you could see the edge to edge quilting.  It is very appropriate for this scrap quilt.

custom quilting

custom quilting

The other quilt that just arrived back is above.   I had asked for custom quilting as it will hang on a wall in my home.  We each have to determine when we want to spend the big dollars on the quilting.  I am very happy with the work done on it.  I had recently read that various sized pebbles is an interesting background.  Mine got some swirls also!

How many years?

How many years?

I just love the above note found on an antique quilt!  TWENTY YEARS!   My quilt above was a block of the month quilt a number of years ago.  I was surprised when I discovered it partly done. I had completely forgotten it.  Then I saw a price ticket.  I knew I had to finish it.   I took it to retreat as that is the best place to finish the old projects.  This one is at least less than ten years in the making!

Antique quilt 20 years in the making

Antique quilt 20 years in the making

Above is the antique quilt made by the three ladies and it was well worth their time.

May you enjoy getting a lot finished or just started in the remainder of this winter.  March is almost here!

Valentine Be Mine







These two remind me of the type of Valentines we exchanged in elementary school.  That was a long time ago, but still a sweet memory.  It was before candy had to be added and we just appreciated the cute cards.



It seems that each year I make a Valentine quilt of some type.  Over the years they have added up!


Hersey tins

Hersey tins

Years ago Enesco produced Hersey Christmas ornaments.  I collected them, but they never went on the tree.  They came out later when winter was drab.


Quilting friends were here yesterday and Linda is all ready for a daughters baby shower


Linda did her own quilting on her regular machine.  Sandi has been busy with bridal shower projects, but they have already been given.

Then there is Helen.  In January we each declared a Get-R-Done project for 2014.  I have yet to look at mine.


Helen has hers pieced and quilted on her long arm.  All that is left is the binding!

Valentine greetings to you!   Below are some my husband received when he was a boy.


Then there is the candy!  I even keep pretty boxes!

v6 v5

2014 Goals

What a commitment this is!  I am going to share with you my goals for 2014.  That means that I will feel some accountability.  January’s goals are met.  I have started 3 new quilts.  That’s the easy part isn’t it?  Starting.  Finishing is the tough part.

Shop Sample seen on a bus shop hop

shop sampleI have shared before the frustration of the Christmas fabric suitcase.  So here goes: two Christmas quilts are to get pieced.  A few years ago a couple fabric companies produced lines of ‘Colonial Christmas’.  Unintentionally and intentionally I arrived at a collection of them.  I should clarify that in colonial times Christmas fabric would not have been produced, but today we can have fun pretending.  I could also mention that there was a time when red and green quilts were very popular.

Great Christmas book of quilts

Great Christmas book of quilts

After I liked the shop sample, I bought the book it came from.  Then I asked permission to take the picture.

green blocks

I have completed one of the sets of blocks using fabric in my stash.  The second Christmas quilt will be more of a challenge.  I have no pattern but am working off of a picture.


This quilt catalog dates 2010.  I doubt if they still are selling the pattern.  Anyway, I enjoy the challenge of figuring it out.

a pic of quilt

The inside of cover picture shows a little more of the details.


I started with the four corner blocks.  I love the look of ribbons and bows.

State Fair only displays a small part of a quilt as there are so many entries.

State Fair only displays a small part of a quilt as there are so many entries.

Last year at our Iowa State Fair there were two quilts made with poka-dot fabric.  I was really inspired by them.

Anita's ribbon winner!

Anita’s ribbon winner!

The second quilt went on to be exhibited at the DM AQS show and it ribboned.  Way to go Anita!

a single block

My block is different but yet the wheel concept is there.  I saw this on another blog and spent a good part of two days drafting the block and making it.  When I referred back to the blog I noticed where I could have ordered the pattern.  So I saved $8.00 and it only cost 8 hours of my time!  I can see where this project will get pricey.  I keep buying fabric and only need small parts of each one.  How many poka-dot quilts does one want to make?

Reading pillows

Reading pillows

My fourth goal for 2014 is less fun.  I love piecing quilts, but I have a lot of ideas rolling around that I want done for my house.  Could I at least work on one for a while each month?  It does not have to get completed, but some time has to be spent on it.  For January I selected the easiest one.  Make the sofa look a little more welcoming to winter.  Competing with my love of piecing is the joy of reading.  Does this spot look cozy?  The two pillows with book prints was easy and free!  Someone had given me the drapery samples years ago.  I did make myself practice micro piping taught by Susan Cleveland.

Feathers by teacher Dawn Cavenough

Feathers by teacher Dawn Cavenough

Then there is my accidental goal.  I was minding my own business at the DM guild the other day, when they mentioned a vacant spot in the next day’s machine quilting of feathers class.  I took the bait.  I even had to borrow cash from a friend to get signed up.  Then I was home making sandwich batting.  I will spare you from seeing a pic of my work, but I did try and I have actually practiced here at home since.

Now I have chatted with you long enough and am headed to the sewing room to determine which of the Feb. blocks to work on.


Got -R Done Past and Present

Last year I challenged my small group to select one UFO to get finished in 2013.

Sandi's UFO finished!

Sandi’s UFO finished!

Sandi finished this cute baby quilt.  It might have moved to the UFO status as she keeps having granddaughters!  I love her binding choice.  She did her own quilting!  The only way we will get better at it, is by doing it!

Carol's UFO finished!

Carol’s UFO finished!

Carol really took on a challenge as she did not care for this project that we had done together.  Hers turned out so nice and she did her own quilting.  She has a friend with a long arm and spent a few days at her house.  Way to go Carol!

Under Protest!

Under Protest!

This little note was found on a doll quilt of a collector.  I don’t think Ann will mind my sharing it.

“1st last and only done under protest.”

Sometimes we can be very proud of what we finish “under protest”.



I will follow the protest items with these gorgeously sewn projects from the past.  I was invited to a questers group as the topic was vintage clothes and Carolyn knew I would love it and I did.  The definition of vintage is usually less that 100 years.  Many of these items were older and so well preserved.


The presenter shared how a trunk was found in her husband’s grandmother’s home after she was gone.  No one wanted it but herself.


Thanks to the ladies who preserved these treasures.

1920s dress

1920s dress

I was sitting in the front row as I wanted to see every detail.  Unfortunately it prevented me from taking good pictures.  We moved from one time period to another.  The Roaring Twenties dresses were so fun to see.  Unfortunately I cannot share but one picture as they got to hard to capture.  Plus I just wanted to relax and enjoy.

If you live in Iowa, you might want to ask this lady to come share the items with your group.


Say “No” To Quilt Shops

Don’t go into a quilt shop the week before Christmas!  They have so many neat Christmas ideas.  You want all of them.  You settle for the one that strikes you the most at that moment and buy the kit and the book that has the pattern.  Well, if you are making one you might as well make two and have a gift ready.  Oh, so they have a cute hanger for the wall hanging.  You also grab it.  Oh, look, appropriate backing fabric is on sale! Please, get me back to my car!

I have forgotten all about the Christmas suitcase at home.

 But the house is decorated and no one is coming home for Christmas Day.  What do you do?  You get out the kits!  What Christmas fun!

Christmas Day Project

Christmas Day Project

I am doing an experiment.  I have ironed on all the machine appliqué.  But why appliqué it down and then quilt it?  How about machine appliqué and quilt at the same time?  Has anyone else done this?  The only place it has given me trouble is the snowman and his three layers of fabric.

Now I am tearing down Christmas and taking breaks by Machine Quilting the wall hangings.  I am not good at free motion or following a pattern, so maybe it is the other way around.  When the neck and shoulders get stiff, I go box up more Christmas.

boys room

Grandsons' room

Grandsons’ room

Above is the bedroom for three of my grandsons.  The lofts were built by my son-in-law and my daughter did the painting.  The boys, 6,9, and 13 love it.  Below the window is now a bench.

Aaron, Jaden, Ryan

Aaron, Jaden, Ryan

We were not buying gifts this year, but I still wanted to do something.  I made pillows that could be on their beds or the bench.  My daughter drew out the letters for me.  I wanted them to coordinate with the atmosphere of the room.  The part the boys liked was that they were made of flannel.  However, I will say as I worked on them, I realized how cheap the fabric was quality wise.  I will regret the time spent if they might not make it through the first washing.

Sister's table topper

Sister’s table topper

While not buying gifts for the family, I almost forgot Stan’s folks and the neighbors and my sisters, etc.  I was way to relaxed.  One evening I went to the sewing room with an idea for sister and started hunting.  What I found was something I had totally forgotten purchasing.  It was sister fabric!  All I could remember about it was that when I saw it, I thought of Beverly.  Anyway I spent the evening and the next day working on it.  I was at the post office that afternoon!  On the way home I stopped and got gift cards for the folks.

There was enough fabric to miter the corners, but not enough to do it perfectly.  Sister is a better seamstress than me.  She can sit at her kitchen table and enjoy the thought that she could have done it better!

One afternoon a week I babysit two grandsons.  During December we told the Christmas story with little stuffed characters.  They enjoyed doing it.  They best liked the innkeeper.  “I have no rooms, Not one bed!”  (They added the bed part.)  It was so cute. We had a couple days with two of the families here.  We made a major production with our stuffed characters.  We traveled to the cattle barn to preform for the parents and papa.

Stable influence

Stable influence

I did warn the adults that it would last less than 4 minutes, but the kids were so excited!  I trust that you enjoyed some great memory building experiences.



Jim Shore's Caroler's

Jim Shore’s Caroler’s

When Jim Shore started designing figurines with quilt patterns, did he have any idea how huge the quilt world was?  I love vintage Christmas decorations, but these carolers had to be added to my collection.  Our church’s Ladies Night Out had a Vintage Christmas theme.

My chair and angel

My chair and angel

My daughter-in-law was on the planning committee and told the lady in charge of table decorations to get in touch with me.   My vintage carolers  and angels were just little guys on most of the tables, but she had great resources to make each table special and unique.  I wish I could say the matt was also mine.

An angel our family made 40 some years ago

An angel our family made 40 some years ago

The atmosphere set the stage for great food and a meaningful program.  It was so special to spend a few hours with friends and share the true meaning of the season.  While you are hustling around this month, do you have moments when you wonder, just how would Jesus want us to celebrate his birth?  I know I do each year.

What a simple, fun centerpiece!

What a simple, fun centerpiece!

We eliminated some of the hustle as we are not buying gifts (that no one needs) for our family.  Instead we are all saving that money for a long week-end together in late January.  I feel so liberated!  Have I gotten more other things done?  No, but I am much more relaxed.

Early Stack-N-Wack

Early Stack-N-Wack

My small group had our little party earlier this month.  Their surprise project was to make a wall hanging like the one above, but it was to be a little more current fabrics.  The pattern above was in a magazine years ago when Stack-N-Wack made its debut.  Ours were to be done with fabric designed by Jinny Beyer.  She is one of the queens of borders and medallion quilts.  You will see our projects on a future post.


We did learn how to cut repeats and sew a stack of 6 together.  Then we cut out the triangles.  The above it what I did with the scraps.  I could cut out 1-1/2″ squares in multiples of 6!  It was grand.  Then I cut out cream squares and laid it all by my machine.  They became my starts and stops.   I walked by the Christmas suitcase and saw this black fabric peeking out!  Perfect!  I made blocks until I ran out of the red squares.

Started with scraps

Started with scraps

Tada!  A small Christmas quilt.  It now graces my design wall and make the sewing room look festive!  And fabric came out of the Christmas stash.

Christmas snow balls

Christmas snow balls

Above is one on my first Christmas quilts.  It was for my grandsons crib at my house some 13 years ago!  You can also see some Christmas candles in the picture above.  Don’t all our decorations bring back memories as we get them out.  I remember seeing these in the stores when I was a little girl.  To add to the memory these were purchased when sister and I were on one of our antique outings.  I do wish you many happy happy memory makers this Christmas!

gingerbread house

If your season gets a little hectic, try this centerpiece.  It should earn a smile and laugh from your guests!

Not This Christmas

Each year in November I get out the vintage suitcase of Christmas fabric.  It is all wonderful fabric.  I dream of what I will make with it.

Vintage suitcase with Christmas fabric collection.

Vintage suitcase with Christmas fabric collection.

Then I get busy with Thanksgiving and then decorating for Christmas.  Then there is shopping, etc.  Come January and everything comes down and gets packed away and I am out of the mood.  Alas, I have a lovely fabric collection!

Quilt In A Day!

We all know this slogan and some of us have heard Elinor Burns explain where her logo name came from.  She was chatting on the phone with a friend one evening and the gal mentioned that she had been to a class and made a quilt in a day!  I know some of our recipients think that is all it takes, but us quilters know the difference.  Well, I discovered that I can make a quilt back in a day!  Just use very big pieces of fabric.

Quilt Backing in a Day!

Quilt Backing in a Day!

Recently I was hunting through my stuff for something and discovered a few coordinating fabrics.  I knew that they would never become the front of one of my quilts, but why not the back.  The next day I put the back together for a quilt that that had recently been finished.  TaDa!  I used fabric I had and now there is a space in the stash closet!

I will admit that I still love the fabric and saved enough to make a few placemats!  Of course that project is now stashed away.



Most of us do not enjoy putting the binding on a quilt.  It is so big to sew around.  I am thankful that I have several tables that can set beside my machine for the event.   When preparing the binding for this quilt, I realized that I would not like the same color of fabric on both sides.  Orange was going on the front and there was a deep blue fabric on the back.  A few years ago I had heard of two fabric binding and it was perfect for this project.  If you use 2-1/2″ binding, cut one inch strips of the front fabric and 2″ strips of the back fabric.  Sew the strips together and you have 2-1/2″ binding.  I am a 2-1/4″ gal so I use  7/8″ and 1-3/4″ strips.


You can also see how this works when you don’t have enough of the desired fabric for a binding.  I was really amazed that I had prepared it right when I finished the quilt top.  Usually I don’t and when the quilt returns a few months later……You know the routine.


Well, I have enjoyed this sit down break.  Now I am going back to getting out decorations.  I am listening to Christmas music and yesterday I purchased some evergreen smelling stuff.  But nothing beats the real thing!  Enjoy your prep time!