Friday, April 29, 2011

no time to quilt today

It's time to celebrate! My little girl-my baby-turns 5 today. I spent the whole week feeling melancholy, as I do any time my kids turn a year older. But now that the day is here, I'm ok. She's so excited, it's contagious. I just heard her singing in her room, "It's my birthdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!" It's good to be 5!!! My hubby is off today and we are going to take her out for a day of fun. It's going to be a good, good day.

Normally, I have gotten away from birthday posts, but I read this blog post and some of the comments yesterday. (Don't click on through unless you have lots of time.) Boy, has it go me thinking! It makes me want to be a more honest blogger. Not that I've been a dishonest blogger, not at all. But it makes me want to be more real here. More well rounded. But more on that later...I've got some celebrating to do!

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I've been focusing on finishing some quilts this week. Man, does it feel good! I hope I can keep up my momentum, because I have 22 to go after this. That's not THAT bad, is it? ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

a new portable project

I'm very excited-I found my portable summer hand stitching project! This makes me laugh, and is highly optimistic, since spring hasn't even sprung here yet. But once summer comes, I'll be ready!
This quilt is inspired by Jessica's travel quilts. Aren't they AMAZING? I have admired her star quilts for years, and now I'm diving in. I'm as scared as I was when I first was trying hand applique, but that turned out pretty dandy, so why not try something new?

A few specifics: Jessica has a video tutorial on how to make the stars. There is a flickr group here. She suggests using quilt patis, but I made my own cardboard templates. I didn't want to wait and order them, so I tried making my own, complete with punched holes and so far, so good! I drew a 60 degree diamond, with each diamond side measuring 2" long, which means the stars finish at 6.5" across. I can't wait to watch it grow. This is going to be a fun journey!

Happy Monday to you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I finished the triangle pillow! And I LOVE IT! The tutorial for the triangle blocks is here. The inspiration for the pillow is here.

I turned my dresden into a pillow, too. I had to add some patchwork to two of the sides to make it bigger. And then I added a few strips to the two remaining sides to make it (almost) square...and then I had to stop myself. :) I love how they BOTH turned out. I think I need to make a few more!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I had fun retreating in Colorado this past weekend. It's always wonderful to spend time with my friend Tara. That girl throws an amazing retreat! Good times, great food, great people!
Penny was just as cute as could be in her little apron. She taught workshops on paper piecing and improvisational piecing. The workshops were great.They had the perfect mix of information and inspiration with some challenge thrown in for good measure. I learned a lot.
I made these sewing machines without a pattern. I just improvisationally pieced them from my own little sketch. I looooooooooooooove them! This is nothing I have ever tried before, (shoot, this is nothing that I had even thought of doing before) and I am so pleased with my first attempts. The spools were Penny's idea and I think that it totally makes the block!
We had all agreed in advance to do a pot holder swap. It was fun to see how all 6 of them coordinated so well. Aren't they so so sweet? The second one from the left, made by Carmen, came home to live with me. Yay!
I sewed on this cutie patootie sewing machine all weekend, thanks to the ever generous Julie.
The prize bags were filled to the gills with goodies! We all got spoiled. Thank you Tara!
There was also fabric shopping, which was actually more like fabric hunting. :) We had great success. Hurray!
There were lots of laughs, a few headaches (literally, which don't mix well with paper piecing, let me tell you!), and lots of fabric scraps everywhere by the end of the weekend.
from L to R: Penny, Amanda, Tara, Carmen, Melinda, Audrey
Here's a group shot. I had met Carmen, Penny last fall. It was great to meet AudreyPawdry in real life (she and I were in a bee together a few years back), and Melinda, who is also from Wisconsin. I'm so glad that I was able to sew all weekend long with these very lovely ladies. Good times, good times.

On the flip side, it is great to be back home. I missed my husband and kids so much. Now, I have to find a home for a bunch of fabric scraps and the yardage I acquired while I was away.

Monday, April 11, 2011

living up to my blog name

I'm working on a small project using small scraps. These triangles finish at about 3", give or take. I took this project to my little neighborhood quilting group on Saturday morning. They all know I'm off my rocker now. Or at the very least, living up to my blog name. :) Oh, well. I'm having fun!
If you want to make some of these little babies yourself, here's how. You know, because I want to enable you to use your scraps, too. That way I won't look quite as crazy.
First, make a pattern of an equilateral triangle that measures 3.5" on each side. (Or any size you please.) 
I drew it on paper first, using my 60 degree markings on my cutting ruler as a guide. 
Make a cardboard template of the triangle. Use the cardboard template to trace the triangle onto scratch paper. Math homework sheets seem to work the best. (ha!) Once the triangles are traced, cut them out using a paper scissors.
Then, take your fabric scraps, the smaller the better. Pick two.
Make sure that the scraps will cover the paper completely when in place.
Sew them right sides together, right through the paper. Set your stitch length on something pretty short. On my machine, I use a 2 (out of 6). This allows you to rip the paper off easily.
Fold down the scrap on the right and press well.
Pick another scrap, sew, press.
Repeat until the triangle is covered.

Flip the piece upside down.
 Trim, using the paper as your guide.
There is a little waste...but not much. Yay!!!
Rip off the paper pieces and give the triangle a final press.
Repeat until your heart's content.

One disclaimer....sewing through the paper will dull your needle, so you will want to change it afterwards. I usually have a few needles set aside just for foundation paper piecing projects like this.

I'm sewing my little triangles into rows. And someday will make a pillow cover with it.
If you try this, I'd love to see what you come up with! Have fun playing with your scraps!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, April 08, 2011


The winner of The Art Quilt Collection is Jane! Jane, please send me your address so I can set you up with your new book! Thanks to all of you who entered. I hope you have a happy Friday!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Ben bread

I've been baking a lot of bread lately. This. stuff. is. awesome. I'd love to have you all over for a slice of bread with butter and jam, but that isn't possible. So, I figured that sharing the recipe would be the next best thing. :) (I love how this loaf slightly resembles the shape of Wisconsin. Ha!)

I got the recipe from a friend, so we've affectionately dubbed it "Ben bread". I did a little tweaking to the recipe, because that's what I do. I've baked this bread up to five times in a week! It's that good. 
To make Ben bread you will need:
1 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place all the ingredients in a bread machine and use a basic bread setting.

I don't care for how my bread tastes when it's baked in the bread machine itself, so I set mine on the dough setting. After the dough is done, I place it in a greased bread pan, let it rise in the pan until the dough is about an inch over the sides of the pan. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
It's great fresh out of the oven. It's great toasted. It's awesome with a slathering of butter and jam. Or butter and honey. Or just butter. It's worth your jeans getting a little bit snug. Maybe. :P

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Art Quilt Collection

The Art Quilt Collection: Designs and Inspiration from Around the World is a gorgeous and inspiring book. It is mainly filled with photos of beautifully made quilts by artists from all over the world (as the title states :) ). Each quilt featured has a brief write up about the inspiration behind the quilt and the materials used. In addition to the beautiful quilts, the book includes brief step by step sections explaining some of the techniques used. Some of these techniques include: pleating fabric, adding color photographs to fabric, oil-based painting, how to make free hand fabric blocks, and more. For me, (not being an art quilter), it was very interesting and informative to read the how-to sections. I actually hope to try out a few of these techniques in the future.

Some of my favorite quilts from the book are:
I loved the tiny windows in each block. And the use of color is excellent! The grey borders really appeal to me as well.
I love, love, LOVE blue and green together, so it's no surprise that this one would be on my favorites list.
This one just blew me away. I makes me want to grab all my neutral scraps and get piecing. It is amazing!
Oh, this one might be my very favorite. I love the depth that this quilt has and I love all the color! (It's made by a fellow Wisconsin quilter. Woo-hoo!) And I love the name of it, too. It's good, good, good all around!

I have enjoyed this book very much. I am sure that it is one that I will look to again and again for inspiration.

If you would like to win a copy of the book, leave me a comment on this post. The publisher, Sixth and Spring, will be giving away a copy to one of my readers. I will pick a random winner sometime on Thursday.

Monday, April 04, 2011

3 things

1. I made this little dresden pincushion last week. Isn't it fun? It measures 4.5" square. It was a great reason to play with scraps, which I seem to never tire of doing. :) It was also so nice to start and finish a project in one day.

2. Margaret's Hope Chest is celebrating 4 years of sharing quilts with those in need. They recently gave away their 1000th quilt! How exciting is that!? To celebrate this huge event, they are hosting a giveaway on their blog with some great prizes, including this set of fat quarters. Check out all the details here. They are also looking for quilt top donations, which would be a great way to whittle down your work in progress pile, if you are so inclined.

3. THANK YOU to all of you who bid on the FMF fabric on ebay. The auctions were a huge success and I appreciate all the sales. I will be able to make a significant donation to Convoy of Hope because of you. Thank you so very much!

Happy Monday to you!