Monday, May 21, 2018

Road Trip



When we were camping in April, I pieced a bunch of four-patch squares in random color combinations. Once we were home, I added a few signature blocks, resulting in this cute 29” table mat called Road Trip. The bright yellow and white dot backing and binding gives it a happy look. It's quilted with bright yellow thread in a diagonal pattern.

I enjoy sewing in the camper, especially using scraps from my favorite quilting projects. When a small scrap basket fills up, I schedule some cutting time with my AccuQuilt cutter. It's much better than my former system: a huge hamper and boxes stuffed with wrinkled fabric odds and ends. Cutting pieces into commonly used sizes keeps my scrap piles neatly organized and gives me plenty of inspiration.


Starting somewhere 
now
is better than
starting somewhere 
later


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Blooms For Mother's Day


These gorgeous flowers always bloom in May, and they remind me so much of my mama, Sam.  Jerold's mama also loved flowers, so every Mother's Day we bought them pretty hanging baskets for their porch and patio. A spring and summer of colorful blooms brought them more joy than a couple of days of expensive flowers in a vase!

Sam liked digging flowers nearly as much as she liked fishing. She'd stop by the side of the road to get a wildflower and never, ever passed up a plant sale. She generously shared cuttings and bulbs that I still enjoy today. Quite a few of them came from her mother's flower garden, especially the iris. I often gave Sam pots of perennials, which we planted together in her yard. I hate that I didn't get to dig up any of those daylilies and ferns before her house was sold.

Apparently my love of flowers must be genetic; I have an old fashioned rose that came from my great grandmother and a blooming shrub from my granny. 

This Mother's Day, I'm buying hanging pots for myself, and planting a few perennials in memory of the women in my life who passed on their passion for flowers and digging in the dirt.



Flowers...
are sunshine,
food,
and medicine
for the soul.
~Luther Burbank



Monday, May 7, 2018

Poolside

Poolside

Now that our weather has warmed up, I want to share a quilt I finished in March. Poolside is 60” square, made up of lovely 12” sawtooth star blocks framed in white sashing. Pool green and navy prints accent the crisp white stars. It's a modern version of this tried and true nine patch pattern.

I used Accuquilt 4½” square and 2½” HST dies to cut the pieces, and 2½” strip die for sashing. Cutting and sewing was a breeze! The backing is made up of four large framed squares in the same navy and pool green colors. I quilted in a scallop stitch, 1½” apart with white thread.


I love this color combination for summer! Stay tuned for another quilt made with fabric left over from this project. The top is already pieced, but I haven't quilted it yet. There are just too many ideas and not enough time. I have four finished quilt tops waiting for quilting, and dozens of them designed in EQ8 begging to be made.

Project count is up to 18 for 2018, and it's only early May. What a challenge to balance my sewing time with house work, yard work (those weeds!), laundry, daily walks, camping and fun with my sweet husband. It's sunny today, so I need to get in a few chores before sewing.


Relax, unwind
get in a
FLIP FLOP
state of mind




Monday, April 30, 2018

Simple Spools


What better wall art for a sewing room than this bright, inspiring quilt?

I love to display my quilts so I rotate them often. This one has sixteen 8” blocks, made with four-patch squares and half square triangles. The background fabric is a cream and black Moda print scattered with positive words. I chose a different bright color for each spool. On two corners, I set squares of grape with white dots, creating a secondary design.


Simple Spools is 32” square and bound with a black swirl print. The backing is a colorful crazy quilt print in purple, black and yellow. Cutting and piecing was quick and easy with the Accuquilt value die. With this one, It's important to stack the fabric so that the words face the same way in each block. I quilted in cream thread, swirling across the center of each spool, about a half inch apart. 

Putting together a quilt is kind of like working a puzzle...all the pieces have their place and have to fit together in the end. Of course, puzzles have a set design and you have to have all the pieces to finish it. Quilts give you more leeway because pieces can go together many different ways to make unique designs. If one doesn't fit or doesn't look right, you can just make another or rotate the block. That's why I like designing in EQ8 software or manually on my design wall. It is fun and challenging to create new arrangements with the same basic pieces.


If you don't like 
the rules,
make new ones


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Travel Day

Yesterday was a travel day for us, so I didn't get to post.  We drove home from a two week stay at Defeated Creek Campground, then picked up mail and retrieved the cat from boarding.  

It was an interesting trip.  The weather was strange even for April in Tennessee.  Blowing rain, 40 with chilly wind, 79 and sunny, lows in the 30's, snow flurries on my birthday, then more rain. Luckily rain held off for both camp setup and tear down. We didn't walk or sit outside as much as we usually do because it was just too darn cold and wet.


Thank goodness we like each other, since we spent a lot of time inside.  Even though cell service is horrible north of Carthage, Jerold's custom external antenna gave us enough bars to access the internet a little bit each day. (I think it was a nice change to be mostly offline, though.)  We had books, magazines, music, movies, and a good DTV signal.  

We had fun despite the weather.  He worked on some electronic projects and I chain sewed 2" squares together on my little Singer machine.  I finished a crochet cat blanket and whipped up several dish cloths.  We made the usual Walmart and Dollar Store run, and ate fabulous Mexican food in Gordonsville twice.  We cooked several nice meals in the camper.  

Life is what you make it.  

Life is good.  


Monday, April 16, 2018

Making Time


Recently I was in between projects, but needed a little sewing therapy. I grabbed a stack of 2” scrap strips and a box of 3 ½” half square triangles and started making blocks. I made hourglass and strip blocks at random, then laid them out on my design wall as I finished each one. I added a border of colorful dots, and quilted with white thread in a wavy design, stitched ¾” apart. The result is Making Time, a 32” by 35” mat for table or wall hanging, or maybe for the cat.

As I stitched, I thought about how much I enjoyed just sewing. Not following any pattern or design. Just playing, doing something I love. I believe it's important to make time for yourself. It is therapy, whether you're creating art, reading a book, listening to music, walking, doing yoga or meditation.

Recharge your batteries! Take a day off to play. Feed your spirit. That's what I'm doing today.


ALWAYS FIND TIME
FOR THE THINGS
THAT MAKE YOU
FEEL ALIVE

Monday, April 9, 2018

It's Spring, Right?


Remember back in February, when it was 75 degrees here in Tennessee? Well, now it is April; the high Saturday was 35 with snow flurries, and the low dropped to 25. Good grief! Mother Nature is playing tricks on us. I had azaleas budding, early iris blooming, hosta leafed out and apple trees blossoming. I picked the iris, covered the rest with sheets; hopefully they will survive.

We've been preparing the camper for a spring trek. I don't know whether to pack coats or shorts. Probably both. There are definitely quilts in there. With our unpredictable weather, it could be freezing in June. We always load too much stuff anyway, but I like to be prepared. We are not minimalists and prefer to be comfortable. The basics stay in all season, until we winterize for storage. 

Sewing at the campground? Absolutely. I have a little Singer machine, shoe boxes of cut scraps, a mini iron, and a kit of everything I need to stitch away on small projects. I also use our time away to design new quilts on my laptop. Inspiration is abundant in nature, whatever the weather.


Despite the forecast,
live like it's spring.
~Lily Pulitzer




Monday, April 2, 2018

Orange Beach

Orange Beach
For this rainy Monday I have a bright and cheerful quilt to show you. A sunset orange and aquamarine print from my stash combined beautifully with a sensational aqua, orange and yellow batik that I bought last November while visiting Orange Beach, Alabama. These medium large prints work great with the 12” flowering snowball block from Accuquilt.

Orange Beach finished out at 58” square. I quilted around the edges of each piece in orange and aqua thread. The backing is aqua and white circles that look like bubbles. 


I think it would be fabulous hanging as wall art in a beach house, or used to snuggle for cool nights on the sand. Either way, it says beach to me and I'm ready to go back right now!

By the way, I found the batik at Fabrics By The Pound in Summerdale, Alabama. Go see them if you're ever in the area and need a nice variety of good quality fabric at excellent prices.

I think this is my favorite quilt yet, but I say that all the time, don't I?


If you can't be at the beach,
then surround yourself
with colorful memories
of sand, sun, and sky.
~me

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sassy Bows


Sassy Bows
Wouldn't this make a great baby quilt? The size is 35” square, just right for snuggling up that little cutie. It could also hang on the wall of a nursery or kid's playroom. The 4” bow tie Accuquilt die made quick work of cutting, especially the small pieces. 

I chose random bright colors from my scrap bins, alternated with a mini-dot of white on light gray. I quilted diagonally with a swirling stitch in white thread. The binding and back is a colorful random stripe on white. Sassy Bows went together quickly...I finished it in two days.

I am having so much fun lately, designing and sewing new projects. My creative energy is off the charts. I'm glad I'm retired, but there still aren't enough hours in the day to sew like I want. That bothersome housework, cooking, and grocery shopping get in the way.

Speaking of housework, I did spend a day doing a little spring cleaning and freshening up. I moved a couple of pieces of furniture, changed a few decorative items, and bought colorful dish towels for the kitchen. I had to pick my daffodils because of last week's crazy snow and freezing temps, and they look lovely in vintage vases. 

Seeing all the spring things gave me even more inspiration, so back to the sewing room I go! Supper's in the crockpot.


Spring is the time
of plans and projects.
~Leo Tolstoy




Monday, March 19, 2018

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

Colors for this lap quilt were inspired by Mesa Verde  
National Park in Colorado. These rust solid, green print and black/rust prints remind me of the beautiful cliff dwellings and scrub pine trees found in the park. We were there on vacation years ago, but I'd like to go west again one day.

I designed in EQ8, alternating the 4” kite block with a plain corner block. Using Accuquilt dies made quick work of the cutting. I set the blocks diagonally, creating a flowing pattern that I followed when quilting in rust thread. The back of this 48” square is a black/rust print.  

Since Mesa Verde matches the colors in our camper, it will ride along when we head out later this spring. It might come in handy on a cool night by the lake.

By the way, I sewed this as a birthday gift for my sweet husband, but I caught Callie cat taking a nap on it last night. 


If you truly love nature,
you will find beauty everywhere.
~Vincent van Gogh

Nature always wears
the colors of the spirit.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson




Monday, March 12, 2018

Snow Day In March

Snow Day

Well, isn't this a surprise? Two inches of snow this morning gave me an opportunity for a breakfast of snow cream. A fluffy, pretty snow stuck to the trees and grass but not much on our roads. Now the sun is melting it fast. Not too unusual for Tennessee, though, because I remember snow on St. Patrick's Day and on Easter.

This winter table runner is made from a batik snowflake print, using AccuQuilt wedge die. I whipped it up earlier this year on a snowy January day. 

The backing is pieced from two fat quarters. I used a decorative snowflake stitch for quilting. Snow Day is 21” x 25” size.

Now, forward to Saturday's holiday: St. Patrick's Day! With a last name of Ireland, you know I have to celebrate.

Citrus Mint Stars
I used my LeMoyne Star die to create this little quilt called Citrus Mint Stars. Little pieces, but easy to cut, sew, and piece with the die. Tan solids contrast nicely with two green prints framed by batik sashing. 

For the back, I combined a leftover block with green and cream half square triangles to make one large block. This one is 35” square, quilted with a wavy stitch in tan thread. It's hanging in my kitchen right now.


Gotta go, I need to add extra steps to my daily walk, after snow cream and the lemon pie I made for my husband's birthday.



“Spring is when you feel like whistling
even with a shoe full of slush.”
~Doug Larson




Monday, March 5, 2018

Spring Geese


Today's lap quilt is the result of saving scraps and remnants from other projects. I paired bright spring pastels in yellow, lavender, pink, peach, and aqua with colorful mini dots and a white on white triangle print for maximum contrast. The backing is a coordinating stripe. I quilted with white thread down and across the geese rows in straight lines, then outlined the center blocks. This girly Spring Geese quilt is 48” square.

I had already cut the pieces using the Accuquilt flying geese 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" die. I've been trying to keep up with cutting leftovers into sizes that I frequently use. I store them by size in plastic bins labeled with washi tape, so my stash stays neat and organized. As a bonus, when I want to sew something scrappy, I can just grab the pieces and start right away.

I like to use EQ8 to design, but this time I arranged the flying geese on my design wall as I sewed them. It's sort of like working a jigsaw puzzle. My design wall is simple: just a 40” x 60” piece of 3/4” foam board wrapped with white flannel, hanging on the wall beside my machine.



Monday, February 26, 2018

Green Onions

Green Onions

I had spring on my mind and a song in my head while working on this little quilt. Remember the cool instrumental number by Booker T and the M.G.'s? What a classic!

The blocks were quickly cut with Accuquilt 3 1/3” tumbler die, using colors of clear navy, spring green and crisp white prints. I randomly arranged them in rows, then framed with a subtle white and grey print. Single tumblers were appliqued onto the navy corners. I outline quilted each piece in white, using a straight stitch. Backing is a diagonal navy and green floral print.

Green Onions is 30” x 36” finished size. It reminds me of sunny spring Saturdays, cruising around with my mama in her '62 Pontiac Catalina, with the windows open and the radio cranked up. Gotta love those memories!


Music is the way
our memories
sing to us
across time.
~Lance Morrow

Monday, February 19, 2018

Color My World


How about a bright scrap quilt for this unusually warm February morning? I don't think we'll need to snuggle up in it today, but it still looks cheerful as a decorative accessory. 

A variety of mixed prints were combined with white dots on black to make this 44” square called Color My World.

I arranged three columns of 3” half square triangles with four columns of stacked 3” x 6” strips. All were cut from my scrap stash with Accuquilt dies. I finished by quilting variegated black/gray thread in rows with a large scallop stitch. Backing is a colorful crazy quilt print, with black and white dots for binding.

I'm not sure the ground hog got his prediction right, at least not for us in Tennessee. It sure feels like spring; last Thursday it was 75 degrees and I had windows open to air out the house. Today looks the same so I'm looking forward to taking my daily walk outside.

Thanks for stopping by, make your day colorful!


COLOR is a power
which directly
influences the soul.
~Wassily Kandinsky



Monday, February 12, 2018

Feel The Love


Feel The Love
For this Valentine's week, my featured quilt is a sweet little wall hanging. Scrappy red and white hearts float on a background of pale grey mini-dots. Feel The Love is 23” x 33” and could double as a table mat. Red and white diagonal peppermint stripes are used for backing and binding.  Quilting was done in straight lines 1/2” apart with white thread.

I had a few red squares left over, so I whipped up a 6” square mug mat. These two were last week's project, along with straightening up my work area. Somehow things from other rooms in the house make their way into my space: shirts for ironing, receipts, magazines, sale flyers, etc. I took care of all of that clutter; now my space looks ready for creating more goodies.



Today I am sending lots of love to Fayetteville, Tennessee. Sir's Fabric was destroyed by fire on Saturday evening. What a heartbreaking loss for the owners, the employees, and the community. Thankfully, no one was physically injured. Sir's was a family owned business and I can't imagine how devastating this must be for them. I didn't go often, but I really stocked up when I was there. I am in mourning for the lost fabric.


Forget
Valentine's Day...
I'm waiting for the
discounted
CHOCOLATE
on the 15th!


Monday, February 5, 2018

How About Them Apples?

Red Delicious
This mouth-watering lap quilt was finished in early January. I used the Accuquilt apple core die that I got for Christmas. Cutting was a breeze...I can't imagine how long it would have taken me to cut out this shape by hand! Notches helped make sewing together the pieces much easier. I did have to slow down a bit to maintain accurate seams. No racing at full speed on this one.

Red Delicious finished out at 43” square. Red prints and a cream/black modern geometric are alternated for the center. Black fabric with gardening tools is used for inside border, backing, and binding. Outside border is a red burlap print. I quilted a straight stitch along the curves for the interior, and used a decorative serpentine stitch with black/grey/cream variegated thread to accent the red border.


This beauty should remind me to eat apples more often. It's said they keep the doctor away, you know. 


An apple a day keeps anyone away
if you throw it hard enough

🔴...feeling a little saucy here...🔴

Why not upset the apple cart?
If you don’t the apples will rot anyway
~Frank A. Clark




Monday, January 29, 2018

Farmhouse Kitchen

Farmhouse Kitchen
This fun little quilt features windmill blocks made from 2 1/2” strips. The watermelon red, burnished gold, black and cream colors blend together beautifully. A cream and red vintage print nicely frames the blocks. Backed in a cheerful apple print, the 24” x 30” size is great for a table mat or wall decoration. It's quilted on the diagonal with a swirling leaf stitch.

Speaking of kitchens, I've been doing some reorganizing in ours this winter. Now that the pantry is sorted again (how does all that stuff get pushed to the back?), I can find things more easily. 

I also pared down my unruly collection of plastic food keepers. Out went old stained and cracked ones, odd lids and sizes; replaced with new clear stacking storage containers. These new ones (Brilliance by Rubbermaid) are leak proof and have a lifetime warranty. We'll see. They do take up less space in the cabinet and refrigerator.

A side note on storage: I found the prettiest little storage bins last week at Dollar Tree and could not resist! They are PURPLE to match my sewing room walls. 

I bought several sizes to hold current projects and to replace the shoe boxes I had been using for scrap storage in my rolling cart. Cute, huh?


Life's more fun
when you're organized.




Monday, January 22, 2018

Free Spirit

Batik fabrics are high on my favorites list, so I tend to use them often. For this project, I chose coral, purple, navy, and turquoise, then added in small coordinating prints. Kite blocks, cut easily with an Accuquilt die, are fun and quick to sew. The light tan background is also used for sashing, giving the kites prime focus, with a few watermelon squares to tie them together. Borders are a neutral beige with a navy/coral pattern, also used on the back.

Free Spirit

It's a happy, free spirited quilt, measuring 48” square. The back features three flying geese blocks I had in my sampler box, set in a long center strip. I quilted with natural beige thread in a small serpentine stitch, 2” apart.


Those kites look ready for March winds and prettier days than today's rainy forecast. Our 5” of snow from last week is finally gone, along with those frigid temperatures. I did enjoy a couple of batches of snow cream but I do not like single digit temps. However, it is Tennessee; the weather turns on a dime.


“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.”
~Lauren Bacall



Monday, January 15, 2018

Roses In Winter

Rose Trellis
Our cold snowy weather, along with a couple of power outages, has made for a challenging weekend. Although I do like snow, I'm glad I don't have to drive in this icy mess any more. One thing, though, I can't sew when the power's off, so I cut, sorted and organized scraps and cleaned the sewing room. And of course, I made a batch of delicious snow cream and read by the fire.

A few of my friends have already been wishing for spring, so for them I'm featuring a pretty little green, dark pink and black quilt which I finished back in October. Rose Trellis is 24” square, made up of flying geese blocks with 3 1/2” squares. Don't these cheerful rose prints bring a smile and a hint of spring to a cold January day? I used light green thread to quilt diagonal swirling wave patterns across the blocks, and a straight stitch to outline the green squares and triangles.

If the electricity continues to go off, I may have to convince my sweetie to start the generator, or convert my sewing machine to battery power. Maybe we can fix up his Granny's old treadle machine...she made plenty of quilts on it. Stay warm and cozy, y'all.

Memory
is the power
to gather roses
in winter.
~anonymous



Monday, January 8, 2018

Moondance




“Well, it's a marvelous night
for a moondance”

~ Van Morrison


What better way to remember the amazing supermoon than a quilted table mat? I used the 6” AccuQuilt circle die to easily cut the moons, then appliqued them onto swirling black and grey 9” squares. Keeping the fabric flat and ravel free was easy: I used iron on interfacing before cutting out the circles. For quilting, I double outlined each circle in grey. This 35” square would look great on a wall as well.


Moondance
January started out cold and frosty, so we have mostly stayed in. Mornings and evenings by the gas stove are relaxing and cozy. On the days we had to get out, I was thankful for heated seats in my Escape. 

Of course, we don't have to worry too much about getting cold around this house. 

I happen to have one or two extra quilts lying around.




Monday, January 1, 2018

Reflections And Resolutions

This new year started cold, with a low of 4 degrees this morning. Our electricity went out about 5 am. Although it was back on in an hour, I was very happy to have a gas fireplace and range. There was another good side to being up so early...we were able to watch a beautiful full moon setting followed by a brilliant sunrise.

2017 was a good year. There were a few challenges along the way but everything worked out like it was supposed to in the end. We went camping several times at Defeated Creek and Dale Hollow Dam. We spent a refreshing week at Island House Hotel in Orange Beach. We started eating healthier and walking at least an hour per day. Home improvement projects and hobbies kept us busy and we were never bored.

It was a stellar year for sewing! I scored big with fabric and sewing tool purchases. I completed a total of 58 sewing/quilting projects, the most ever since I started a sewing journal. Needless to say, I cherish the hours I spend stitching.

For 2018, I plan to continue living a quiet, happy retired life. I will stay on a healthy eating path and increase my walking time. There will be camping, reading, maybe another beach trip, and lots more sewing. 

I'll make an effort to give myself time to fully experience each moment, to linger instead of rushing. Laughter with friends and loved ones, lively conversation, and learning new things are on my list. Most importantly, I want to practice awareness so that I don't miss a thing.


Wishing you all a happy and fulfilling 2018.
May you revel in the simple pleasures of life.