Archive for the 'Home' Category

The Dark and the Light Sides…….

February 23rd, 2015

So while everyone else in the Quilting Universe was at QuiltCon this past weekend, I was here at home…...and spent far too much time on Instagram trying to keep up!

But I also got to mess around with these two bundles of painterly fat quarters that the awesome peeps at Windham Fabrics sent me awhile back.  Two Very Different, but yet very similar lines. The one on the left is dark and somber, and the one on the right is bright, cheerful, and carefree.

windham duo 71

Actually, I was playing with Sunshine Serenade last week. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen these little bags I was making with these prints. I never get tired of making these bags designed by my friend Monica. They are super easy and quick. I resized these to be a bit smaller than her original directions to fit what I need them for.


windham 72

I don’t know how well you can see it, but many of the prints in this line have glittery bits….which makes is seem even more like 1985 to me.  These fabrics remind me so much of the 80’s, I can’t believe it!



And now to the dark side….. Black and White by Marcia Derse, who I just discovered lives on the same island that my wife, Linda, grew up on! Small world!  Any way, there were less prints in this collection and it is much less colorful…

windham 73

Much less colorful…..

I decided that I wanted to try and see how this line would work with my United Colors pattern. I knew that it would be different trying work a pattern that is actually based on hot and warm colors and light and dark values with fabric that wasn’t actually hot or cold….and not too much contrast in the dark or light category.


As I experimented, I found that I really enjoyed the process. Some blocks “read” much better than others, something that I confess I always find that fascinating as I look for the pattern in the not so obvious blocks.


Actually the “bluer, plainer” greys are from the first group, Sunshine Serenade, but they aren’t all that sunny, are they? And just wait until you see what I did with the block printed red canvas that I picked up at some garage sale or something (I actually have no idea where the red fabric came from …but it added just the right touch to this quilt!


I want to wait to show you this finished quilt top until after my presentation at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild next month in Portland, Oregon. I want to show them first in person…

Now I need to get back to whatever I was supposed to be doing before I started this post….There is a long list, so I kinda get to pick….kinda….

Crimson Tate Succulents

February 10th, 2015

Crimson Tate 69

The awesome peeps at Windham Fabrics  sent me this great little bundle of Succulents by Heather Givans of Crimson Tate fame.  I already worked a bit of it into Boom, my newest pattern coming to my Etsy shop soon, but the few prints that I used were mixed in with a bunch of other prints (and I do mean a BUNCH…just wait until you see’ll blow your mind!) For this post,  I wanted to work just the Succulents prints into a few blocks to share the line on its own with you.

crimson tate70

So I decided to make some more Maple Leaf blocks. If you recall, I’ve made a few of these before from other lines, and I am thinking that when I get enough, it will be a fun quilt to just throw on one of the kids’ beds, or give away, or whatever.


So I made a trio of Maple Leaf Blocks.


I love the quiet palette of this line. I could use some quiet as my mind is filled with trying to get end of year 2014 paperwork done. ...... You know how I love paperwork…..


Especially when I’d much rather be sewing…..Seems like it’s always something else not as fun that NEEDS to be done…when all I WANT to do is sew!


Well, I’d better get back to taxes and FAFSA forms and pattern writing.  Look for  a big announcement regarding my next batch of patterns soon (two of which are available in my Etsy store already!)

Keep Happy, Keep Sewing,


Cascade …..

January 24th, 2015

Hey, It’s January….and it hasn’t been all that restful for me….I always hope it will be, but invariably I fill my life up with just too much…I have been wrapping up the four new patterns for my classes at Sisters this summer…two are almost done and the other two need a bit more work, but they are almost ready too. I will let you know when they are all set up to purchase over on Etsy!  This weekend,  I really just wanted to sew because I have been doing so much paperwork lately. Besides writing up those patterns, I have been working on refinancing the house (again!) (long story there, but like many people these days, we all have many long stories about our finances, don’t we!?) and don’t forget, I have to get going on taxes and FAFSA forms for two kids in college next fall….Oh How I hate paperwork!!

Cascade 74

So I decided to work with this bundle of Cascade from Jessica Levitt for Windham Fabrics to “escape” from the paper chase.

cascade 6

cascade 75

The prints have great “watery” names like Glisten, Cascade,      etc.  The collection is mostly in the blues quadrant of the color wheel….with a little bit of peachy coral and something I’d call a mustardy, mossy lichen greenish-gold thrown in.

cascade 06

Cascade definitely has that Art Nouveau vibe that Jessica gave her previous lines. I love that feel. And although these colors are way more subdued than my usual inclinations, I think they are so very wonderful for a beachy theme… and I love going to the beach. Maybe I should make some placemats to take with us to the beach when we go and rent my friend Mary’s cottage.

cascade 05

I recently found a “Nine Patch” project that I started years ago, so I decided to make some more 9-patches in 2 1/2” and 1 1/2” squares to go with those old blocks.


Not really sure where these blocks will end up…but it was a fun distraction…

cascade 10 cascade09 cascade 08

Now I probably need to get back to that paperwork…I am going to start with wrapping up those patterns so that you and my students at Quilters Affair this summer can get their hands on them!


How’s YOUR January going??

Good Company with Jennifer Paganelli

January 5th, 2015


I swear that I love everything that my friend Jennifer Paganelli cooks up in fabric.  Her latest line, Good Company, is no exception.   A couple weeks ago, we were talking about her life growing up in the Virgin Islands in the 60’s and 70’s,  and you can just feel the colorful times she lived through down there in her work today.


Jennifer sent me some Good Company fat quarters to play with as well as two fun little tree ornaments that she created.


The whole package was delightfully wrapped up in some vintage ribbon that I loved almost as much as the gifts!




I have this great new pattern coming out later this year that these fabrics will work perfect in, but I couldn’t wait to cut into them and do something with them,  so I just had a go at it and cut a bunch of 3” squares to create some fun 9 patch blocks. Simple and fun, and with Good Company, pretty darn amazing!




It’s good to have just a bunch of 9 patches on hand, don’t you think?

Keep Sewing, Keep Happy,



Mr. December for #NGAQB — Joshua (Molli Sparkles)

December 31st, 2014


So here on the LAST day of December, I present to you, Mr. December, Joshua Helms, better known in the Quilting World as Molli Sparkles. This guy is great, I am looking forward to someday meeting him….oh, say when a whole bunch of Australian Quilt Guilds get together to invite me down under to share my quilts and teach a bunch of classes. Hint, hint….

Anyway, Molli, started this whole #NGAQB back in November last year I think.  I got my invite through John, but Molli was the creator of this Bee and has been a great leader keeping us on track and all. Mostly at least.

Molli’s choice for his block was this little hashtag block he cooked up.


His request was that the blocks be tone on tone fabrics on white. I have two different whites in here, but I am not sure that you can really tell that from the photos.


Molli had originally done this for the #NGAQB only, but since the Sydney hostage incident, Molli has opened his request for blocks from everyone to help with healing in the aftermath of that horrible day.

So that’s a wrap for the #NGAQB. It was fun.  I met some great guys and got share this quilting thing with them. I have a LOT to do in 2015, so I am working very hard to say “no”  to extra like this in the coming year.  I am uber excited about the possibilities of 2015.

Keep Happy, Keep Sewing,


Just a couple extras…

December 28th, 2014


Today is just a quick post sharing a few of the lovely “single” prints that have popped up in the studio recently (single meaning not all from the same line from one of my sponsoring fabric companies and such)
The first three I picked up in a Joann’s store near where my sons live.

I picked up this great green print from Juliana Horner’s first line (I think).


And this terrific vintage Christmas print (can’t beat half off pricing that’s for sure!) ... like I NEED another Christmas print. I have a lot of this kind of stuff that I so need to work with already!


And here is a great print from Denyse Schmidt’s latest line for Joann’s.


Then this great little foulard print came from Linda’s friend Allison. Thanks Allison!!


The four Japanese prints below came from my mother in law for Christmas via Fabricworm. Okay well, technically my MIL send Linda the money and she picked them out from Fabricworm, whatever.


Like I really needed ANY of this….. sigh….but so sweet to have here to play with!

Mr. November for #NGAQB — Me!

December 27th, 2014


So here it is….My month in the #NGAQB ….okay technically LAST month was my month, November…But I am showing you the blocks I have received so far….being as I am in the tail end of this Bee, and everyone has fallen behind right along with me, I imagine that I will be receiving these blocks for awhile. I am pretty good with that actually. It will be awhile before I actually get to working them together into one quilt anyway.

It has been been a fun year working with and creating for these guys. Each month has had something pretty unique, and I have been loving those challenges.  For my month, I chose a Union Jack quilt because I have been admiring these for a couple of years now, and since three or four of the team live in the UK and one in Australia, somehow that block seemed a bit appropriate to me. I also pushed a lot of the guys’ in their fabric selection by requesting they use Liberty type prints.  I want a real “English Garden Cottage-y” look to the final project.  I chose to use Molli Sparkles’ tutorial since Joshua (Molli) was the instigator of the group (I think).   So far, I have received blocks from two of the guys and made about four blocks myself.


Paul sent the BIG Union Jack block. I think I will make it the center of the quilt somehow, we’ll see what I think when they all get here.


Oh, and I am supposed to write up a little blurb about myself for the other guys to share on their blogs if they want, so I guess this will do:

I grew up a farm boy. Well, kind of a farm boy. My dad worked for a newspaper two cities away but he loved cattle and machinery, so we always had both and a lot more land than most people. I never really liked machinery, but I am rather fond of animals and plants, and since we lived in the Pacific Northwest, we always had lots of woods. I consider myself a child of the woods. I am constantly inspired and uplifted by trees of any kind. Maybe that’s why part of why I love Christmas so much with that whole Tannenbaum thing going down. I also loved coloring and creating from my earliest memories. I still remember getting my first box of 64 Crayola Crayons! My mom sewed everything we wore (except pants she hated making pants she said). And in Junior high we had to take Home Ec and Shop. I was mostly interested in cooking in Home Ec, but I did learn to sew and I sewed myself a shirt and pillow (Ironically, the pillow that I sewed was also a flag, the Danish Flag, because that was the main country of my family’s many origins)  I made my first quilt when I was about 14 or so because it was around the Bicenntenial and Early Americana was pretty much the rage then. 

Fast forward to the late 80’s early 90’s. I was newly married, wanted to make my wife a fancy Christmas stocking. In the years before, I had picked up counted cross-stitch as a means to keep my hands busy when I was not doing something else.  (I need that, especially when visiting with people,  I can’t stand to just sit there) So I cross-stitched the front of a pretty elaborate stocking for my wife. I needed to sew it together so I ended up buying a $200 Singer Sewing machine. A year or so later, my wife and I happened to check out a quilt show and I think that’s when I started getting more and more interested in quilting. I started dreaming of opening my own quilt shop, and through that dream, I met Mary and Connie of Country Threads in 1996.  After that it’s a series of events that unfolded to me getting more and more involved in the industry of quilting through an assortment of circumstances. Now I design quilts for fabric companies and magazines. I have a few patterns for sale in my Etsy shop and a few more coming there soon, and I teach here and there, as well as share my quilts and journey in the quilt world with guilds. I am also on staff with the magazine Generation Q.  It has been an interesting journey. And truly the best part has been all of the wonderful, amazing, creative, and kind people that I have met and now call friends. It has been a delight!


I am looking forward to seeing the rest filter in.


I will keep you posted so you can see the variety each dude brings to the table!


December Aurifil Designer of the Month! Carrie Nelson

December 26th, 2014

aurifil 2014 Dec designer of the month Carrie Nelson

Hey There….December is almost over….So I’d better hurry up and share this December block with you!   Here’s the last installment of the Aurifil Designer of the month 2014 series.  This month’s designer is Carrie Nelson. You can read all about Carrie here in her interview with the incredible Pat Sloan. I thoroughly enjoyed it myself…and I have to totally agree with her on her “favorite” color…..

Here is her block, Not Afraid of Flying,  and you can get the directions here.


And here is my version of Not Afraid of Flying using Liberty prints and more of Valori’s Wish Voile.


Remember there is still a little bit of time to get your December Block done and posted here on Flickr for the monthly drawing of a big box of Aurifil thread ($120 value)!

And here is Natalia’s Machine Quilting Tip #12:

machine quilting tip for aurifil number 12

It sure has been fun being part of the Aurifil Designer of the Month Crew this year!  Here are all of the blocks that I made for the year in the Liberty and Wish and few other fabrics. I apologize for the lighting and the fact that I snapped these pictures really quickly and didn’t take the time to press those blocks that got a little wrinkled in storage.




I am pretty excited to put these together.  I have got a plan all laid out using part of quilt designed by my friend Alexia Abegg that I will show you later in the New Year.

Shaman by David Butler of Parson Gray

December 20th, 2014


Hey There,

How is your Year End going?  Around here it is just nuts as usual. I am wrapping up four patterns to be available sometime in Mid January in my Etsy Store.  I am pretty excited about them, if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen hints of them coming out. And then there is all the Christmas hubbub going on as well too.  So I’ve been wrapping up gifts and Linda’s been baking and the like. The house is decorated and we’re pretty much set for the festivities of the upcoming week.


Today’s photos are of the new line by my friend David Butler of Parson Gray fame. This line is called Shaman and is featured in a quilt I have coming out in American Patchwork and Quilting sometime in 2015.  I can’t really share the quilt yet, but I thought I could show you these beautiful prints that will be fun to work with this winter in other projects as well. Nice warm fireplace colors with some gorgeous winter blues… and a little mossy, tobacco-y green to round out the group.


Love those arrows in the bottom row of prints in the photo above!


My favorite print has got to be the Canoe one, third in from the left below.  Love it!!


How are your holidays going? Get all your projects done??  I am so funny right? There’s still time. A little at least.

Hoping to get another post or two out before Christmas, but if I don’t A very merry and blessed Christmas to you…


Mr. October for #NGAQB — Nick

December 7th, 2014

Catching you up to date in the final stretch of the year long #NGAQB I have been messing around with.  These guys have been great! Today’s post covers Nicholas Ball over in Cardiff, UK.


Nick wanted improv blocks based on his favorite painting. He really loves the Dali painting below. I don’ t know if I could ever have ONE favorite painting…..I can barely narrow down one favorite artist. I am such a visual addict. Anyway, here are Nick’s words for what he wanted:

I really excited for this one guys, and have been ever since we started the bee. My favourite painting in the whole, wide world is Salvador Dali’s “Persistence OF Memory” which currently hands in New York’s MOMA. I have been to New York three times, and never once have I seen the painting in person. Trip one there wasn’t enough time (I was travelling with a large group of friends and some were more interested in 5 I heart NYC tees for $10!), trip two the only free day we had the museum was closed and trip three the painting was on tour. What…a…BITCH! Want to hear the real sting in the tail? My friend went to NYC this year, went to MOMA, saw the painting, face timed me and I MISSED THE CALL. I don’t think it’s in the stars for me t see this painting in anything other than my countess Dali books!


So, this is where you all come in. If I can’t see the painting then I’m just gonna have to make one of my own…from fabric. That’s right guys! I want your help to make my very own Persistence Of Memory. You want details? No problem! (Best New York accent).

I would like you all to make some improve blocks. There’s no pattern or pre design block for what I want so you’re gonna have to go it alone. Have fun with it and release your inner Dali. That said, I do have a few requests.

* I really want to keep to the colour palette of the original painting. I’ve attached a cool graphic I found that takes the main tones from the painting. Please try and stick to these colours as much as possible.

* My original idea was for you all to make a “section” of the painting, so some of you do sky, others the foreground. You would only use the colours that feature in your section. However, I’ve since decided that I want it to be a representation of the painting, not a replica, so now I’d like all colours in the blocks, with the intention of creating a feeling of the work within your blocks.

* Even though I’m asking for imrov blocks, I’d like it if you could keep your piecing quite square/rectangular, like the examples below. I don’t really want any circular of triangular piecing.

* In terms of size, I always think you’ll know best when an improv block is done. However, feel free to make any size block, which can be square or rectangular. As this is going to be quite a large quilt, I’m going to need to play around with layout, so I ask that you don’t straighten the edges of your blocks please but rather leave them ‘ragged’. That way I’ll have some room o chop and change!

* As for fabrics, I really like modern, graphic, geometric prints. I’d like a mixture of solids and prints, in the colours of the painting. I love lines, crosshatch and modern florals (think Friedlander). I don’t want novelty prints or anything too large-scale…I’m not sure it would work but I trust your guys to do what you think best. Also, I have some ant fabric that I would like pieced into some of the blocks (there are ants in the painting) so I’ll be sending some of you a piece of that. Please don’t use any clock or time fabric either! That’s not the look we’re going for people.

Hope I’m not being too demanding! Thank you all! Male quilters rule!

So that’s what Nicholas wanted.  And here’s what I came up with:




I can’t wait to see the other blocks and especially how he puts them together!!

Only two months left for the 2014 #NGAQB….. November which was my month and December (now) which was our ring-leader’s Month, Mr. Joshua Helms, better known in the quilting world as Molli Sparkles.

So that’s my brief note for today. I spent yesterday wrapping Christmas presents all day. I really wasn’t too focused. I should have done a lot more….I was planning on decorating the house yesterday. I was in one of those weird spaces where I just meandered about too much. Didn’t even get a nap (which would have been nice!)

Have a great week peeps!

Keep Sewing, Keep Happy,


Next »